India to ban .xxx domains

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India has declared its stance against the recently approved .xxx sponsored top-level domain (sTLD). The Indian government plans to block all .xxx domains once they begin to be deployed.

"India along with many other countries from the Middle East and Indonesia opposed the grant of the domain in the first place, and we would proceed to block the whole domain, as it goes against the IT Act and Indian laws," said an Indian senior official at the ministry of IT, according to The Economic Times. "Though some people have said that segregation is better, and some countries allow it. But for other nations transmission and direct distribution of such content goes against their moral and culture."

Distributing adult content is illegal in India, and violators can face a maximum of five years in prison. That being said, Indian law does not forbid the consumption of pornographic materials.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved the .xxx TLD last week, and the first domains will likely start to appear within the next few months. The idea for a TLD which hosts only sites that feature adult content had been on the table for 11 years.

In order to register a new .xxx domain, porn sites have to pass an application process that's designed to ensure that their site does not engage in fraud, child pornography, nor offer up malware to users. A key reason the porn industry opposes the new TLD is that it adds additional costs: sites have to register and pay for additional .xxx domain names to avoid having their brands hijacked.

India's decision confirms the main objection raised by critics of the TLD: that it would make censorship of pornographic materials far easier to pull off. Others want exactly this; the new suffix enables easier policing by parents and employers.

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