India is set to block the Internet’s newly-formed, highly controversial cyber “red-light district” after a global agency governing the web approved .xxx suffix for pornographic websites last week, a senior government official said.
A few days ago, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved the .xxx suffix for pornography websites. In response, a senior official at the ministry of IT stated that “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.”
Under the Indian Penal Code, while distribution of adult content is illegal, watching such content is still permitted. Vivek Sood, cyber lawyer and author of ‘The Fundamental Right to the Internet’ sees the move ineffective because the same content can be hosted in other domains like .com and .in. Although other websites of the same nature continue to provide access under different domains, the ministry vows to be keen in reviewing those sites on a case to case basis. On the other hand, Internet activists and cyber law experts believe that the new suffix in fact would enable better policing by parents and employers.
The new top-level domain has already registered about 250,000 domains in anticipation, even before the approval came this month. The domain names are likely to be available in Q2 of 2011.