Saudi Arabia objects to new internet domain names

Over 160 objections filed to stop new top level names such as .gay, .wine and .casino

Saudi Arabia’s Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has filed over 160 objections about proposed generic top level domain names (gTLDs) in the past week.

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The Saudi regulator has filed objections to a number requests to register new gTLDs, mainly on religious and moral grounds, including the domain suffixes .sex, .gay, .wine and .casino.

Saudi Telecom has also lodged ten objections along similar lines, while US religious campaign group Morality In Media has lodged around 800 complaints.

ICANN, the administrator of domains, is currently steering a consultation process, where organisations and individuals can register proposals for new gTLDs. 

As part of the process, anyone is able to lodge protests against, or support for, proposals at the ICANN website.

The CITC has currently expressed opposition to a number of proposed gTLDs that it says would be “detrimental to public order and morals and prohibited in a number of religions and cultures”, including sex-related sites TLDs .dating, .sex, .porn, .sexy and .gay; gambling TLDs .poker and .casino; and alcohol related .wine, .vodka, .bar and .pub.

A number of other proposals around religious terms, including .bible, .islam, .halal, .ismaili, .shia and .ummah, with the CITC saying it was inappropriate for these domains to be controlled by a single entity as they would not be representative of the wider community.

Attempts to register the domain .catholic, and its Arabic language equivalent were also protested on the same grounds.

A complaint about the .gcc domain was also lodged, as it was not registered by an official Gulf Co-operation Council entity, while .persiangulf was objected to on the grounds that the term was contentious.

The CITC objections also included several against major companies, including protests against Amazon’s European operations for registering for the .hot TLD; healthcare company Johnson & Johnson’s application for .baby and Virgin Enterprises request for .virgin; all of which it suggested would be used for pornography.

Other objections lodged by the CITC included the TLDs .tattoo, .tatar, .sucks .wtf and .africamagic, although they missed .beer, .bet and .bingo.

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