Obama administration mum as .xxx nears approval
By MICHELLE QUINN | 3/17/11 6:08 AM EDT
SAN FRANCISCO - The porn industry is about to get .xxx as its own .com — and after years of protests by the Bush administration, the Obama administration is standing on the sidelines as it happens.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the non-profit California corporation that oversees the creation of top-level domain names like .com, .net and .biz, is expected to approve the .xxx domain on Friday.
The move would cap a struggle that began in 2005 when a Florida company called ICM Registry applied to introduce .xxx as a new suffix for the adult-entertainment industry. Religious groups protested with a letter-writing campaign, and the Bush administration urged ICANN to hold off.
"The Department of Commerce has received nearly 6,000 letters and e-mails from individuals expressing concern about the impact of pornography on families and children," Michael Gallagher, an assistant secretary in the Bush Commerce Department, wrote in a letter to ICANN in 2005.
In 2007, the ICANN board denied ICM's application. ICM sued, and the issue went to an administrative panel, which reversed ICANN's decision.
Now the issue is back in ICANN's lap. The Bush administration is gone, and so too, it appears is U.S. government opposition to .xxx.
The Obama administration has not taken a public position on .xxx. Asked about the issue this week, a spokeswoman for the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said: "It is premature for us to comment at this time."
The White House declined to comment Wednesday.