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Appeal and lawsuit over .xxx rejection

The company that called for a .xxx domain on the internet has asked ICANN to reconsider its decision to reject the bid. ICM Registry is also suing the US Government for access to documents that it hopes will prove political interference.22 May 2006

ICANN's board rejected ICM's proposal by nine votes to five on 10th May. But ICM filed a request for reconsideration on Friday, arguing that the decision was "based on inaccurate information about the written statements of various governments concerning .xxx".

It also claimed that board members voted against ICM's proposal based on an unfounded concern that it could put ICANN "in a difficult position of having to enforce all of the world's laws governing pornography, including ones that might require porn sites to use the domain".

The Florida-based company said that board members voted with inadequate information about "the inappropriate involvement of the United States government" in the process. It hopes to persuade ICANN's board to vote for a fresh proposal for a .xxx domain at a meeting on 18th July.

On Friday, ICM also sought injunctive relief for alleged violation of the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the US Departments of Commerce and State. It says three FOIA requests have not been properly fulfilled.

According to the filing: "All three FOIA requests seek documents that will shed light on what role the United States government played" in ICANN's consideration of the .xxx proposal.

It continues: "Documents released so far reveal that the United States government exerted undue political influence on ICANN's consideration of the .xxx domain application, treating an independent corporation as a client agency of the United States government despite a lack of any legitimate authority to do so. For this reason, the government's withholding of the documents requested is contrary to the law."

Documents are available on ICM's website, including the information provided to date in response to the FOIA request. The site also offers an analysis of the documents, by the Internet Governance Project (IGP) of Syracuse University, New York.

"Even with the major redactions, these documents show how US supervision of ICANN was influenced by domestic political pressure generated by the religious Right," concludes the IGP report. "They leave no room for doubt that the US altered its policy toward ICANN in response to this pressure, and that it actively worked in tandem with ICANN's management to conceal the nature and significance of US governmental oversight of ICANN from the public and the media."