Before ICANN Meeting, Canadian Authority Suspends Involvement

Rhett Pardon
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — ICANN on Friday received a stunning blow from one of its constituents: The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has suspended its involvement with the Internet governing body until it shapes up.

CIRA has been a long-time policy and financial supporter of ICANN, but now is so concerned about the organization's policy directions and processes that it has suspended its contributions to the body and will decline to host or sponsor any ICANN events.

For months CIRA has pushed for ICANN to focus on accountability, internal processes and transparency. But the organization apparently was rattled by ICANN’s recent approval of VeriSign’s continued control of the .com top-level domain.

CIRA’s decision is substantial because with more defections, Internet governance could conceivably fragment, resulting in parallel Internets running in different parts of the world.

The defection comes just days before ICANN plans to decide on the controversial .XXX sponsored top-level domain at its meeting Monday through Friday in Wellington, New Zealand.

ICM Registry has met ICANN’s criteria for creating the proposed sTLD, according to an ICANN decision in June. Since then ICANN and ICM Registry have been negotiating the contract that would create a virtual red-light district, which has the adult industry divided.

ICM said that, if passed, the sTLD could be operational six months later, with adult domains costing $60.

Under ICM’s plan, the International Foundation for Online Responsibility (IFFOR), would be the policy-making authority for .XXX. IFFOR would be funded through .XXX domain-name registration fees and would have its own board of directors, consisting of representatives from the online porn industry, the free speech community and organizations that advocate child protection on the Internet.

Free Speech Coalition Communications Director Tom Hymes will attend the meeting in Wellington, seeking to influence the decision on behalf of the U.S. adult entertainment industry.

Fiona Patten of EROS Foundation, the trade association for the Australian adult industry, plans to join Hymes to present a united international front on .XXX