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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    Country-Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) .af Redelegation: Another Government-Initiated Redelegation
    posted by michael on Wednesday January 15 2003, @12:01PM

    lori writes "IANA/ICANN has redelegated yet another ccTLD, .af (Afghanistan), at the request of a relevant government. Not surprisingly, ICANN and the Islamic Transitional Government of Afghanistan's Ministry of Communications have also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding. You can read IANA's .af redelegation report and the .af MoU."

    "Cited in most every redelegation report since ICANN's inception, including the .af redelegation report, it appears that one paragraph from ICP-1 is consistently prioritized over other principles of RFC 1591 and ICP-1. The paragraph is as follows: "The desires of a government of a country with regard to a delegation of a ccTLD are taken very seriously. The IANA will make them a major consideration in any TLD delegation/transfer discussions." In practice, it seems that the desires of a government are fast becoming the controlling factor in a redelegation (see also, the .au redelegation).

    An odd element of the redelegation report is a signed letter in which Mr. Abdul Razeeq, the original administrative contract, professes his agreement to the .af redelegation. Razeeq has been the administrative contact since October 1997, but the report states that the IANA has not been in contact with Razeeq since early 2000. It is certainly curious that Razeeq has not been in contract with the IANA for several years, but suddenly appeared to agree to the redelegation. Have a look at the letter from Abdul Razeeq and judge for yourself."

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  • IANA
  • RFC 1591
  • letter from Abdul Razeeq
  • lori
  • IANA's .af redelegation report
  • More on Country-Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs)
  • Also by michael
    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    .af Redelegation: Another Government-Initiated Redelegation | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 10 comments | Search Discussion
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    Finding the Admin Contact
    by dpf (dpf@ihug.co.nz) on Wednesday January 15 2003, @01:33PM (#10969)
    User #2770 Info | http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/
    I don't think there is anything suspicious about the fact that for some years the admin contact was not contactable but that he has now been located.

    To be blunt if I was the person listed as being in charge of the Afghanistan country code while the Taliban were in power I'd be going into hiding also and not answering my e-mail.

    With a change to a more benign government and presumably a local rather than IANA search for him, no surprise he was located and agreeable.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Duty to enquire?
      by michael (froomkin@lawUNSPAM.tm) on Wednesday January 15 2003, @05:11PM (#10971)
      User #4 Info | http://www.discourse.net/
      I agree there is nothing at all inherently suspicious about the chronology. And, since there's consent from the incumbent, I don't think this is a precedent for government control -- all that other stuff is what lawyers call dicta, and regular people call fluff. Or, at least, that's the best way to treat it.

      But, it's always a good time to ask -- given that the assent of the incumbent is the key to most legitimate re-delegations -- what burden should "IANA" shoulder in such cases to satisfy itself that the consent is real? (And, in cases of conflict and skullduggery [icannwatch.org], uncoerced?)

      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
        Re:Duty to enquire?
        by dpf (dpf@ihug.co.nz) on Wednesday January 15 2003, @08:37PM (#10972)
        User #2770 Info | http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/
        A good question.

        In terms of verifying if consent is real and unforged (as per sex.com) then the normal IANA procedure to to insist upon a reply to a verification e-mail sent to the admin and technical contact e-mail addresses.

        This seems to be one of those rare cases where that is not possible and I suppose a judgement was made that it wasn't so important.

        Working out if it is uncoerced is more difficult and I am unsure if ICANN can do much apart from take things at face value. A logical exception would be if there is some reason based on previous public or private statements to doubt the sincerity of the agreement.
        [ Reply to This | Parent ]
        Re:Duty to enquire?
        by lori on Thursday January 16 2003, @10:32AM (#10979)
        User #3589 Info
        Great question. Because "assent of the incumbent is the key to the most legitimate re-delegations," there should at least be a self-imposed duty to enquire into the validity of consent. Further, both ICP-1 and RFC 1591 state that when management is transferred from one organization to another, the IANA "must receive communication from both the old and new organization that assure the IANA that the transfer is mutually agreed." What purpose does this requirement serve if there is no duty to confirm the authenticity of a communication?
        [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
    ccTLDs are a country's property
    by vbertola on Wednesday January 15 2003, @09:54PM (#10975)
    User #3435 Info | http://bertola.eu.org/
    Honestly, I can't see any problem in the fact that a redelegation is initiated by the government, especially in the case of underdeveloped ccTLDs where the local Internet community is presumably non-existant.

    Though we might not like it completely, a country's ccTLD, as all its resources, is a "property" of its government. In case of a conflict between the local Internet community and the government about who manages the ccTLD, the government has "the knife from the side of the handle": for example, it might simply pass a law to prevent anyone else in the country from running the ccTLD. The local Internet community may try to prevent this by acting on the press and the public opinion, but it has no actual power to stop a government-mandated redelegation, nor it has IANA.

    And if you don't accept this, then it descends that a country's ccTLD is the property of the Department of Commerce of the US Government, something that the rest of the world cannot accept. I don't think that IANA, in any case, should have the right to decide who manages a foreign country's ccTLD (though it should foster the finding of an agreed solution between the government, the present registry and the community, rather than immediately following any request from the government). I definitely prefer .it to be ruled by the Italian government (no matter how bad it might be) than by the US one.
    --vb. (Vittorio Bertola)
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:ccTLDs are a country's property [NOT]
      by michael (froomkin@lawUNSPAM.tm) on Thursday January 16 2003, @03:08AM (#10976)
      User #4 Info | http://www.discourse.net/
      " a country's ccTLD, as all its resources, is a "property" of its government."

      I'd really like to know what you think the source of this property right is. Is it natural law? Divine law? Public international law (if so, please specify the written instrument)?

      From my perspective a ccTLD is an address in a private file held in Virginia. Rights to it are determined by a contract between the ccTLD operator and persons responsible for controlling that file. They stem from private, contract law. DoC doesn't have all the rights in a ccTLD if only because its agent and/or predecessor in interest has contracted them away.

      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:ccTLDs are a country's property
      by KarlAuerbach on Thursday January 16 2003, @09:07AM (#10977)
      User #3243 Info | http://www.cavebear.com/
      I believe that you will find a great deal of disagreement with the assertion that a ccTLD is the property of the nation to which the ccTLD refers.

      As Michael points out, there are many, ICANN included, who adhere to the belief that a ccTLD is nothing but an entry in a database that is managed by ICANN, oops, by IANA, subject to constraints from the US Dep't of Commerce.

      ICANN's own written policies, as well as its actions, indicate that the opinion of the government referenced by the ccTLD is but one element in ICANN's, oops, in IANA's, decisions about who is the proper operator.

      Because ICANN, oops, IANA, has the ability to make subjective decisions about who gets to run a ccTLD, ICANN is in a position to coerce those who wish to obtain control of a ccTLD into desired modes of behavior, the most overt being that the recipient enters into a ccTLD agreement with ICANN in order to receive ICANN's, oops IANA's, blessing for the ccTLD transfer.

      The idea that a ccTLD is a direct aspect of a national sovreignty is challanged when one looks at ICANN's continuing demand that ccTLD operators open their computer records so that ICANN, oops IANA, has unconstrained ability to do zone file transfers of the ccTLD's zone even when doing so is a likely violation of the nation's data privacy laws. (It is all the worse because those zone transfers have no technical justification - they contain no information not available by other less intrusive means that is relevant to the stable operation of the delegation linkage from the DNS root to the ccTLD.)

      All in all, I feel the strength of the assertion that ccTLDs derive from and are somehow a part of each sovreign nation. However, there is the competing theory that ccTLDs are merely database entries in Virginia in the USA, and their use and allocation may be placed under pretty much any conditions that ICANN, oops, IANA, choses to impose.
      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
        Re:ccTLDs are a country's property
        by vbertola on Thursday January 16 2003, @11:16PM (#10982)
        User #3435 Info | http://bertola.eu.org/
        I've been spending the last weeks also in struggling against the Italian government's proposal to gain stronger control over .it (*) - so you can bet that I'm not so enthusiast about the fact that a national government should have the last word on a ccTLD. The best idea would be that a ccTLD is owned by its users, or its "Internet community" - but how do you define them or collate them into a single formal legal entity?

        But anyway, while I understand the other theory (and I'm not saying that it's wrong from a legal standpoint - I'm not a lawyer), I'm saying that it's unacceptable from a *political* standpoint. While it could be good if there was an (open and fair) central "appeal" authority that ensures that the local manager acts democratically and in a proper manner, the US government or an US corporation cannot qualify for this role. If US and ICANN really insisted on this, I guess that in a few years most of the other geopolitical entities in the world would start their own roots.

        Of course all of this derives from the present crisis of our planet's political structure, that is unable to manage worldwide issues openly and fairly, especially those related to information and immaterial properties - but that's quite a bigger discussion...

        Perhaps things could be different if the ccTLD database was "owned" by an international UN agency, not controlled by any government? I'm not saying it has necessarily to be an already existing one :-)

        (*) you can read more here [nexus.org] - we were even featured here on icannwatch [icannwatch.org].
        --vb. (Vittorio Bertola)
        [ Reply to This | Parent ]
  • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.

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