Domain registry XYZ.com has submitted a proposal to ICANN that would enable it to automatically censor the registration of domains included on a Chinese government blacklist, according to a report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Thursday.
The list includes close to 12,000 banned words and expressions, according to Domain Incite, including the Chinese words for democracy and human rights. Under the proposed ban, global registrants would be prevented from registering these terms with any xyz.com top level domains, including .xyz, .security and .protection.
“Censorship of a domain name is not the same as censorship of the content hosted at that domain name (the Chinese government does both, but xyz.com’s proposal only affects the former),” EFF said in a blog post. “Even so, as ineffective as it may be, xyz.com’s complicity in advancing the Chinese government’s censorship of the Internet remains profoundly misguided, and contrary to their role as a provider of domain names to the world.”
If .xyz sounds familiar, it may be because of one of its more high-profile customers, Google, which recently registered a .xyz for its holding company, Alphabet.
According to Domain Incite, XYZ made the Registry Services Evaluation Process request earlier this month. It wants ICANN to approve “the use of a gateway service on the Chinese mainland, which the company says it needs in order to comply with Chinese law.”
Chinese citizens are not allowed to activate domains registered in non-Chinese registries unless they comply with a law that requires registries be located on the Chinese mainland. In order to comply, XYZ will work with Chinese company ZDNS to proxy its EPP systems and mirror its Whois, Domain Incite reports.
The proposed ban would not apply to already registered domains belonging to customers outside of China.
ICANN has opened up public comment on the proposed ban.
ICANN is wrapping up its ICANN 54 public meeting in Dublin on Thursday.