Is .su Doomed? (And - ha! - will there be any public debate?)
Date: Sunday October 20 2002, @10:23AM
Topic: Country-Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs)

Wired News carries a fascinating story stating that ICANN ccTLD liason Herbert Vitzthum "announced at the Moscow conference in late September that dot-su would be revoked".

The story raises two issues: First, what should happen to orphan ccTLDs if the country they are associated with ceases to exist -- but the registrations remain? Second -- as we've often asked before -- how is it that these decisions that ICANN takes while wearing its "IANA" hat happen without any public discussion, or even notice?

As Alexander Svensson noted on the ICANN GA list, .su is "no longer on the ISO 3166-1 list (, but it's on the list of "reserved code elements" since September 1992. ( - 632 kB)".

There isn't an RFC, or even a ICP on what to do about orphan ISO codes when a country vanishes. If, as RFC 920 and RFC 1591 state, the rule for ccTLD creation is "reflect the ISO list", and the ISO list shrinks, that certainly could be read to suggest that the ccTLD should go too. Certainly, that's what ICANN has done when a country changes its name.

But there's an arguably even more fundamental principle that could be brought to bear: you might call it, the internet is for everyone, or the idea that stability is a key internet virtue, or the idea that whatever ICANN does, it shouldn't make it harder for people to use the Internet to communicate. From each of these perspectives, the .su domain should stay -- or at least the 28,000 existing second-level registrants in .su ought to be able to keep their names (new registrations are frozen, Wired reports).

Interesting as these issues are, there's no need for ICANNWatch readers or anyone else to worry about them. You see, it appears that ICANN is going to decide this intersting question in the usual way: in secret, with no public notice or consultation. Indeed, it appears that to date the ICANN staff member who's going to make this decision affecting many thousands of people (there are a substantial number of third-level registrants in the .su domain, and of course all the people with .su bookmarks, and all the e-mail users with .su addresses) hasn't even bothered to raise the question with the ICANN Board, much less any supporting organization or the public.

Business as usual -- and it will only get worse and more secretive after the upcoming abolish-elections-and-any-pretense-of-democracy "reform"...

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Current IANA Practice
by lextext on Sunday October 20 2002, @03:47PM (#9780)
User #6 Info |
This may provide some guide on current IANA practice:

"When an alpha-2 code for a country is changed on the ISO 3166-1 list, the IANA's historical practice has been to set up a top-level domain with the new code and to delegate it to the same manager as the existing top-level domain, with the expectation that a transition will occur and that the deprecated top-level domain will be deleted once the migration is completed."

-- Bret

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re: Is .su Doomed? (And - ha! - will there be any
by PeterBarron ( on Monday October 21 2002, @06:54AM (#9790)
User #3240 Info |
If they're taking .su off because it's no longer on the country code list, yet remains on the reserved list, what does that say about .eu, which is also not on the country code list, yet remains on the reserved list.

Hypocritical? ICANN?

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re: Is .su Doomed? (And - ha! - will there be any
by michael ( on Monday October 21 2002, @04:37AM (#9787)
User #4 Info |
Well, governments don't necessarily have any more control over a ccTLD than they do over any other private activity; that depends on the local law, and on who runs the ccTLD (public or private entity, it varies). But your basic point is well-taken: the ccTLD registry and delegate will perforce be located somewhere and by virtue of its regulatory authority the government of that place will have more power over .su than will other governments in the former soviet union. The question is, whether that's really a big problem? And I think the answer to that question isn't up to me, but up to the .su registrants, and the espeically those who live in coutnries other than where the .su management is located. It would be nice to see evidence of a consultative process that sought to find what they thought -- instead of the bland assurances of backroom chats we got in the .au process.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
ccTLDs Considered Dangerous???
by michael ( on Monday October 21 2002, @06:51AM (#9789)
User #4 Info |
Do we conclude from this that people concerned about long-run stability are better off in gTLDs? And thus that the case for having gTLDs (and more gTLDs) has yet another justification?

"ccTLDs considered dangerous"???

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