.xxx really really dead?

ICANN has decided not to issue .xxx. Stuart Lawley from ICM does not look that happy about it:

ICANN Board member Susan Crawford is also unhappy:

"No centralized authority should set itself up as the arbiter of what people may do together online," Ms. Crawford said in a statement to the board, adding that political pressures played an undue role. "This is not a technical stability and security question."

I mostly agree that this isn't a technical stability question. As far as the DNS is concerned, there's nothing special about the string .xxx, after all. As far as security goes, the only way in which this would be special would be if ICANN intended to monitor that ICM was enforcing the somewhat vague conditions that were proposed for the domain. That's easily fixed by not doing so. That said, the bit about "no centralized authority" being an "arbiter of what people may do together online" is a bit hard to understand, since that's more or less ICANN's reason for existence. Once we've decided that we're going to issue more TLDS and we're not going to do it in a mechanical fashion (first come/first served, auction, etc.), you're pretty much left with some sort of centralized arbiter, which is what ICANN is. This isn't to say that one can't object to the decisions ICANN has made or the way it makes them, but that's different from having a principled objection to them making such decisions in the first place (not that one can't object to that as well...)