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MOPO is an acronym for Morality and Public Order.

In 2009, ICANN issued a new set of standards for releasing new gTLDs based on global principles for morality and public order. This was in response to pubic objection against several suggested new gTLDs (such as .gay). These standards were based on extensive research conducted by ICANN on the cultural and judicial differences between nations worldwide and their generally accepted legal norms for morality and public order. On the basis of this research, the MOPO standards were set in DAG version 4 in the Dispute Resolution Policy (DRP) guidebook and application.[1][2]

The working group tasked with this research proposed the following:

  1. The new TLD or web content should not provide incitement to or promotion of violent lawless action.
  2. The web content or TLD should not provide incitement to or promotion of discrimination based upon race, color, gender, ethnicity, religion or national origin.
  3. The website or TLD should avoid incitement to or promotion of child pornography or other sexual abuse of children.[3]

Most of the nations have legal norms for crimes based on Morality and Public Order. The GNSO proposed to initiate a standardized system based on MOPO common to all countries linked to ICANN. Similarly, it was stated by GNSO in its final report as "Strings must not be contrary to generally accepted legal norms relating to morality and public order that are recognized under international principles of law."[4]

This recommendation by the GNSO was opposed by most of the committees. The NCUC (Non-Commercial Users Constituency) opposed this MOPO recommendation undermining the following reasons:

  1. It will have a negative impact on the ICANN’s efforts to make the gTLD application process easier and foreseeable and make the evaluation process arbitrary, subjective and political.
  2. It will suppress the freedom to express and diversify on the internet.
  3. ICANN will become involved in many litigation processes due to MOPO. It also may change ICANN’s focus from its mission of technical coordination and expose it to become an organization that acts to impose legislations based on morality and public order.[5]

Moreover, public comment on the recommendation of MOPO was similar on the grounds that it will not be feasible for ICANN to implement the MOPO standards and their legislation easily. It will increase the complexities rather than simplifying the new gTLD process for ICANN.[6]

Taking the opposition under consideration, it was decided to abolish the class of objection based on morality and public order in September 2010. This abolition confirmed that ICANN’s main motive is to provide technical assistance and not delegate itself in legislation of public morality and arguing over human rights.[7]