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Sex site: EU executive slams ?interference?

The Internet governing body's decision to reject a new .xxx Internet domain for porn sites is a clear case of US political interference in the web's governance.

india Updated: May 12, 2006 02:15 IST

The Internet governing body's decision to reject a new .xxx Internet domain for porn sites is a clear case of US political interference in the web's governance, the European Commission said on Thursday.

The board of the US-based Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted by 9 to 5 on Wednesday to dismiss the application to register the domain name, which would be like the .com or .net at the end of an Internet address.

Supporters said a .xxx domain would have made it easier to confine sex sites or filter them out, but critics such as the Family Research Council, a conservative US-based religious group, complained it would only legitimise the porn industry.

The EU executive said the decision underscored the need to make ICANN independent quickly, following unsuccessful demands last year by a group of countries including the EU to make ICANN fully independent.

"We see here a first clear case of political interference in ICANN," said Martin Selmayr, spokesman for EU Information Society and Media Commissioner, Viviane Reding.

He said correspondence between ICANN and the US Department of Commerce, highlighted the "interference".

ICANN, a California-based non-profit group, cannot make changes to the domain-name system without the approval of the US Commerce Department.

"It's a worrying development that the U.S. administration has interfered in this process," Selmayr said.

He urged further steps to complete the privatisation of ICANN in the course of this year to release it from the oversight of the Department of Commerce.

ICANN said in a statement on Wednesday that its discussion had focused on issues such as sponsorship, compliance issues and public policy concerns.