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Derived from Internet Domain Names: Background and Policy Issues, CRS Report to Congress PDF July 14, 2006

On June 1, 2005, ICANN announced that it had entered into commercial and technical negotiations with a registry company (ICM Registry) to operate a new ".xxx" domain, which would be designated for use by adult websites. Registration by adult websites into the .xxx domain would be purely voluntary, and those sites would not be required to give up their existing (for the most part, .com) sites. Announcement of a .xxx domain has proven controversial. With the ICANN Board scheduled to consider final approval of the .xxx domain on August 16, 2005, the Department of Commerce sent a letter to ICANN requesting that adequate additional time be provided to allow ICANN to address the objections of individuals expressing concerns about the impact of pornography on families and children and opposing the creation of a new top level domain devoted to adult content. ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) also requested more time before the final decision. At the March Board meeting in New Zealand, the ICANN Board authorized ICANN staff to continue negotiations with ICM Registry to address concerns raised by the DOC and the GAC. However, on May 10, 2006, the Board voted 9-5 against the establishment of a .xxx top level domain. ICM has filed a reconsideration request with ICANN, and has also filed a judicial appeal to require the Department of Commerce to fully release (without redactions or omissions) all internal documents relating to its interactions with ICANN over the .xxx issue. Meanwhile, on March 16, 2006, Senator Baucus introduced the Cyber Safety for Kids Act of 2006 (S. 2426), which would require NTIA to compel ICANN to establish a new top level domain name — such as .xxx — exclusively for material harmful to minors. Websites with material harmful to minors would be required to switch to the new domain. Those that do not would face civil penalties from NTIA.

US Legislation has already been passed which directed NTIA to create .KIDS.US which seeks to do the opposite - create a zone exclusively for save children's content.

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