The Real Problem with dot-XXX by Michael Roberts

The Real Problem with dot-XXX by Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts responds to Milton Mueller’s recent article on .xxx approval process. Roberts says that if the issue was money, “ICANN would have been bought, or not bought, by now and the fuss would be over.” Roberts sees “something more fundamental at stake.” Roberts quotes from report of the U.S. Congressional Research Service, in part noting “The Supreme Court, however, has held that the First Amendment does not protect two types of pornography: obscenity and child pornography.” He notes “herein lies the quandary. As a long list of indictments and successful prosecutions attest, Web-based pornography frequently slides into criminality.” With “the freedom and openness of the net” new frontiers in predatory behaviour have been established “across state and national lines, to the point that in the US, it takes a joint federal-state task force of lawyers, net experts, FBI agents and local police to try to keep up with the illegal behaviour of a pathological fringe.”Roberts says it comes down to a morals contest – on one side are the free expression advocates, such as Milton and on “the other side are those who wonder how ICANN could have gotten itself entangled in a tawdry business that not infrequently preys on innocent youngsters and enjoys a lot of profit at the same time.” Roberts concludes “Is the current ICANN Board going to hide behind process, or is it going to fulfill its own pledge of transparency and take sides on the morality of dot-xxx?”
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