Political pressure on porn? by Stephen Balkam

Political pressure on porn? by Stephen Balkam
Stephen Balkam, formerly of RSAC, then ICRA and now FOSI (Family Online Safety Institute) has a long history in child protection and labelling and filtering. So he’s somewhat disappointed in the recent ICANN decision on .xxx. Balkam notes the knockbacks on the .xxx proposals, the first two because ICANN did not want to be in the content-regulation business and then because it was too vague.Balkam claims a “troubling undercurrent to this unfolding saga is the impact of the [GAC] on the debates, delays and decisions of the main board. Many have argued that this committee has been used to promote a stance of the Bush administration and has put undue pressure on the staff and board of ICANN. Some of the main opponents of the “.xxx” domain are members of the U.S. religious right who fear that its acceptance would legitimize porn. Critics say the White House is overly sympathetic to these views and the constituency they represent.”He’s concerned about the United States exerting “a disproportionate amount of influence at a time when the administration is at pains to declare ICANN’s independence and freedom from U.S.-based policy.””So, where does all this leave ICANN” Stephen asks? He claims “some will be cheering the decision, many more will be left wondering how this body can retain whatever semblance of transparency, objectivity and independence of government interference it claims to possess.” He concludes “[t]he decision by ICANN, influenced as it has been by political pressures, chips away at the fundamental value of the Internet. For all of us involved in the online world – and that is virtually all of us – this is a worrying trend.”http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.porn17apr17,0,4471608.story

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