Internet regulator rejects .xxx domain for adult sites

The Internet's regulatory body rejected a plan to adopt a new ".xxx" domain for sex-oriented websites after heated protests from the United States and elsewhere.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board voted 9-5 against the plan after "much public comment and detailed discussion," according to a statement issued late Wednesday.

The United States last year asked ICANN to postpone the new top-level domain, citing an "unprecedented" level of protests, including some 6,000 letters and e-mails.

ICANN a year ago opened technical and commercial negotiations for the new top-level domain with the .xxx extension, for what was billed as a self-regulated adult-themed area of cyberspace.

Backers of the site argue that use of the .xxx extension would be voluntary, but would create a clearly identifiable area of the Internet that could be blocked for certain users.

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