Triple X, Internet Content Regulation and the ICANN Regime Drafted by Milton Mueller

Triple X, Internet Content Regulation and the ICANN Regime Drafted by Milton Mueller
This paper, drafted by Milton Mueller of the Internet Governance Project, asks “What are the implications of this probable resolution of the .xxx drama for the Internet and Internet governance?” He says “They are major. But no one seems to be talking about them.” The paper begins with the most direct implication. The paper says the “.xxx contract sets an important precedent by giving ICANN policy making and enforcement responsibility over web site content while it concludes “the Internet Governance Project has long maintained that ICM’s .xxx application deserved to be successful. We took this position because we don’t believe ICANN should discriminate among TLD applications on the basis of the content or meaning of the string, and because we believe that ICANN (and its oversight authority, the US Government) should not arbitrarily change the rules in the middle of the game. If there are problems here, they are not problems with the .xxx gTLD application. They are problems inherent in ICANN’s institutional structure.”The paper has some criticisms of ICANN, including “The ICANN process fosters dealing with policy problems in an ad hoc manner by taking advantage of the narrow kinds of leverage inherent in ICANN’s gatekeeping role and contractual governance model.” Further, the contract process that’s complained about by many governments and theorists, the “contractual approach can be seductive and self-perpetuating. … In the .xxx case, governments didn’t have to negotiate a generally applicable treaty about the thorny issue of what is pornography and what to do about it, build support for it, get it ratified, and face any electoral accountability. They just raised some objections and let Paul Twomey’s staff and ICM Registry work out the details. It is a mutual accommodation that is convenient for the established institutional players. Whether it serves the global Internet-using public very well remains to be seen.”
http://internetgovernance.org/pdf/new-xxx-contract.pdf

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