Letter from Martin Boyle to Vinton Cerf
Department of Trade and Industry
9 May 2006
Dr Vinton Cerf
4676 Admiralty Way Suite 330
Marina del Rey
Approval of the dot.xxx domain name
The discussions held by the Governmental Advisory Committee in Wellington in March have highlighted some of the key concerns, and strong opposition by some administrations, to the application for a new top-level domain for pornographic content, dot.xxx. I thought it would be helpful if I would follow up those discussions by submitting directly to the ICANN Board the views of the UK Government. In preparing these views, we have consulted a number of stakeholders in the UK, including Internet safety groups such as the Internet Watch Foundation and the Children's Charities Coalition for Internet Safety.
Having examined the proposal in detail, and recognising ICANN's authority to grant such domain names, the UK expresses its firm view that if the dot.xxx domain name is to be authorised, it would be important that ICANN ensures that the benefits and safeguards proposed by the registry, ICM, including the monitoring all dot.xxx content and rating of content on all servers pointed to by dot.xxx, are genuinely achieved from day one. Furthermore, it will be important for the integrity of ICANN's position as final approving authority for the dot.xxx domain name, to be seen as able to intervene promptly and effectively if for any reason failure on the part of ICM in any of these fundamental safeguards becomes apparent. It would also in our view be essential that ICM liaise with the relevant bodies in charge of policing illegal Internet content at national level, such as the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) in the UK, so as to ensure the effectiveness of the solutions it proposes to avoid the further propagation of illegal content. Specifically, ICM should undertake to monitor all dot.xxx content as it proposed and cooperate closely with IWF and equivalent agencies.
This is an important decision that the ICANN Board has to take and whatever you decide will probably attract criticism from one quarter or another. This makes it all the more important that in making a decision, you reach a clear view on the extent to which the benefits which ICM claim are likely to be sustainable and reliable.
UK Representative to GAC
cc Paul Twomey, CEO ICANN
Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi, Chairman GAC