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

    Country-Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) IANA
    Behind the Scenes of the .ht Redelegation
    posted by michael on Sunday January 25 2004, @03:35PM

    sbruno writes "As one of the principal actors of the .ht redelegation from the Haitian side, I feel that I must make some contribution to the whole story. I will bring some light to some arguments in Kieren McCarthy's article, 'Haiti kisses ICANN ring, rewarded with control over own domain', and in michael's IANA Redelegates .ht (No Advance Warning as Usual). There are some truth in both articles and some incorrect statements or speculation about what really happened. I will:

    - make a brief history of .ht to help understand the context of the redelegation which explains a lot of things,
    - give a few hints about why it took so long,
    - answer the question about whether the 'local community' has been consulted,
    - comment on Internet Governance vis-à-vis small ccTLDs like .ht

    This article reflects my personal views as a professional that leaded the .ht project from the beginning to the end, and who is today the administrative contact of .ht. It does not engage the consortium that is the legal entity in charge of .ht in Haiti."

    A brief history of .ht

    First, let's make a little history on .ht. The IANA report on the redelegation of .ht did not mention the previous crisis that existed when they first delegated the management of .ht to a the consortium REHRED/ACN (an NGO/private company consortium), not supported by the government at that time. Based on a correspondance from the Government of Haiti dated March 6, 1997, IANA redelegated the .ht to another private entity. However, the .ht has never been put into operation. This is very important to mention, since this context will explain the careful and long negotiations that took place to obtain a new redelegation to a mixed, public/civil society consortium, endorsed by the Government.

    In 1999, the Réseau de Développement Durable d'Haïti (RDDH), representing the local community interested in the development of ICTs in Haiti, took the leadership of resolving the .ht issue. Locally, RDDH had to deal with all parties involved, i.e. the company that had the management of .ht, and the Government. Internationally, it had to deal with ICANN/IANA which wanted to carefully treat that issue. Daniel Pimienta's FUNREDES has a nice compilation of events from 1997 to 1999.

    The consortium FDS/RDDH has then been created to satisfy the requirement of the Government that a public entity be involved in the management of .ht. Enters FDS, the Department of Science of the public State University. Thus, tedious meetings have been organized with representants of the Government, mainly people from the Ministry of Public Works, Transportation and Communications, to finalize, fine-tune the .ht management procedures, vision and architecture.

    Why it took so long ?

    - Local negotiations were tedious and carefully planned in order to restore confidence among all actors, particularly the Government, ISPs and telecom operators, and the old tender of the .ht which was an ISP itself. Since 1999, several workshops have been organized to motivate people and demystify the domain name system
    - ICANN procedures for approving a redelegation were also tedious. For example, we had to find out how to give proof that the sponsoring organization had the support of the local community
    - The fact that all documents and legal papers are only in English made things worse when the Government had to review them. ICANN should consider rending those papers in official languages of the countries
    - The institutions that would be involved in .ht management had to improve their technical infrastructure and/or establish outsourcing strategies that are acceptable to the Government and the parties involved
    - We had to establish strategic alliances with outside institutions for technical assistance, experience sharing, notably with AFNIC, and secondary DNS services with AFNIC, the University of Montreal and Princeton University
    - In brief, this participatory approach extended the delays, but with the benefits of restoring confidence

    Has the local community been consulted ?

    If there is something we did extensively, it is the consultation with the local community, through national summits, workshops, even the publication of proceedings outlining the vision, approach and economic benefits of the management of our own domain name space. In his article, michael seems to suggest that ICANN should have consulted the Internet community at large before taking the decision to redelegate .ht. Although I believe that closer communications between ICANN/IANA and the community that they are supposed to serve should improve, but I think the principal parties concerned in a redelegation is the sponsoring organization, the local community and the Government of the concerned country. Once all these parties have an agreement, ICANN/IANA (or whatever the body responsible) just has to agree.

    Haiti 'kissing the ring' of ICANN/IANA ?

    Small ccTLDs like .ht have very low weight in decisions about Internet Governance for now. As a problematic NIC, the focus is on resolving the internal blockage on .ht and on entering the complex structures around Internet Governance (ALAC, ccNSO, GAC, etc.) in order to have an active presence in the debate for shaping the future of Internet Governance. Some clauses have been contested with ICANN/IANA however, notably about sharing zone files with them. In .ht organizational structure, we had already arranged for a body that would serve as a guard for the local community, vis-à-vis the consortium. This body, in spirit, could play the role of the 'escrow agent' as suggested by ICANN/IANA. They have been flexible enough about this requirement (the transfer of zone files to ICANN/IANA).


    Small ccTLDs like Haiti should regroup so they can better defend their point of view. That meens being always present in international debates, creating interest groups with shared vision. If we don't do that, we will be left aside and our cases will drop down on the priority list to make place for more controversies between the giants. Now that we are close to the launch of .ht, we really focus on how this thing could bolster the development of that sector in Haiti, and thus help in the development effort of the country.

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      Related Links  
    · IANA
    · ICANNWatch.org
    · Afnic - .fr registry
    · At Large Advisory Committee
    · Government Advisory Committee
    · ICANN
    · IANA report on the redelegation of .ht
    · Réseau de Développement Durable d'Haïti
    · compilation of events from 1997 to 1999
    · AFNIC
    · national summits
    · his article
    · sbruno
    · Haiti kisses ICANN ring, rewarded with control over own domain
    · IANA Redelegates .ht (No Advance Warning as Usual)
    · More Country-Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) stories
    · Also by michael
    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    Behind the Scenes of the .ht Redelegation | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 10 comments | Search Discussion
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    by KarlAuerbach on Sunday January 25 2004, @10:04PM (#12891)
    User #3243 Info | http://www.cavebear.com/
    This article demonstrates a major problem - the lack of clarity regarding whether it is ICANN or IANA that is making these decisions.

    The "IANA Report" - http://www.iana.org/reports/ht-report-13jan04.htm - says quite clearly that "This report is being provided under the contract for performance of the IANA function between the United States Government and ICANN."

    That makes it clear that it is IANA that is making the decision, and that ICANN only "does IANA" because it has a contract from the US Dept of Commmerce - oops, let's be more precise - the US Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (a sub-agency of the US Dept of Commerce.)

    Yes, that deserves to be repeated - ICANN does IANA under contract to the US Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration!

    Is not the job of redelegating ccTLDs something very close to the job of recognizing what is and what is not a national sovereign?

    In the United States, that job is generally done by the US Department of State, not by private corporations, not the Department of Commerce, and certainly not by the Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration.

    Might I suggest that we have here a system of ccTLD redelegations that involves level upon level of governmental and private agencies that operate not merely without authority but contrary to legal authority.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Still not redelegated...
    by bortzmeyer on Thursday January 29 2004, @06:37AM (#12905)
    User #3933 Info
    One could note that, two weeks later, the actual redelegation is not yet done.

    vespucci:~ % whois -h whois.iana.org ht

    IANA Whois Service
    Domain: ht
    ID: ht

    Sponsoring Organization:
            Organization: HINTELFOCUS
            Address1: Rue Darguin 17
            City: Petion-Ville
            Country: Haiti
            Postal Code:
            Registration Date: 01-January-1985
            Last Updated Date: 01-January-1985 ...

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: behind the scene .ht
    by michael (froomkin@lawUNSPAM.tm) on Monday January 26 2004, @03:22PM (#12896)
    User #4 Info | http://www.discourse.net/
    Pas de quoi!
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: behind the scene .ht
    by sbruno on Tuesday January 27 2004, @05:06AM (#12897)
    User #3932 Info
    C'est toujours un plaisir pour moi de contribuer ŕ enrichir les débats.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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