The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) function of ICANN, as part of the administrative tasks associated with management of the Domain Name System root zone, is responsible for receiving requests for the delegation and redelegation of top-level domains, investigating and reporting on the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and, when appropriate, implementing the redelegations.
In accordance with ICANN’s performance of these functions, ICANN received a request for the delegation of the .KP top-level domain. This domain is designated for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the ISO 3166-1 standard. The application was received on 26 January 2007, with supporting documentation received in the following month.
The DPRK is an East Asian country situated on the northern half of the Korean Peninsula with a population of approximately 23 million people. The .KP country code has never been delegated in the DNS root zone.
On 22 October 2004, ICANN received a letter from the Permanent Mission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the United Nations, signed by Ambassador Songryol Han. The letter informed ICANN that the “DPRK Computer Center is assigned as the national network center and authorised to manage “KP” state domain by the government of the DPRK.” This letter was not supported by any further documentation or any formal delegation request as required to properly instigate a request.
On 22 May 2006, ICANN received a letter from Jan Holtermann of the Korea Computer Center Europe (KCCE) in Berlin, Germany. The letter indicated that the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would be requesting the delegation of the .KP top-level domain. The letter went on to explain that the KCCE is an affiliate of the Korea Computer Center (KCC) in Pyongyang, DPRK, and that the KCCE will act as their official representative in the delegation matter “due to the difficult communication situation between North Korea and other countries.”
On 31 July 2006, ICANN received a letter from the Permanent Mission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the United Nations. The letter stated that the Government of the DPRK has designated the KCC to manage the .KP country code top-level domain.
On 22 August 2006, ICANN received a letter from the KCC, signed by Director Kim Chang Ryop. The letter requested that ICANN pursue the next step in the delegation process and referenced the government letter authorizing KCC as the administrator of the .KP top-level domain.
On 30 August 2006, ICANN received the same delegation request lodged via the IANA ticketing system. Upon initial review of the request, IANA staff provided the requestors with detailed instructions on the delegation process and requested additional supporting documentation. In addition, IANA staff asked the requestors to provide a completed template. IANA staff received the completed template but did not receive the requested additional documentation, even after several reminders for that documentation were sent. In accordance with standard procedure, the request was administratively closed on 1 December 2006 after the requestors did not provide the necessary documentation within the specified timeframe.
The applicant resubmitted the request to ICANN on 26 January 2007. Initially there was a misunderstanding about why the previous request was closed. IANA staff explained that it was following its normal process for closing the request after 30 calendar days if the requested information had not been tendered. The supporting documentation for the current request was submitted on 15 February 2007.
A delegation from KCCE, the proposed technical contact, visited the ICANN Offices on 13 May 2007. They were informed of the delegation process, and that the materials submitted in connection with the previous application, was currently under staff review. The delegation was advised that if further documentation or information were needed from the applicant, they would be advised.
The request under consideration seeks the delegation of .KP top-level domain to the Government of the People’s Republic of Korea represented by the Korea Computer Center in Pyongyang, DPRK. The KCC is the DPRK government agency designated for the administration and development of information technology in the DPRK. It is proposed that Kim Chang Ryop, Vice President of Korea Computer Center, fill the administrative contact role, and that Jan Holtermann of KCC Europe GmbH fill the technical contact role.
The documentation provided in support of the delegation request includes an endorsement letter from the Permanent Mission of the DPRK to the United Nations, detailed information about the proposed sponsoring organization (KCC), policy and rules that have been established for managing the .KP top-level domain, and a description of the technical structure for operating the domain.
In its role as investigator of delegation and redelegation requests, IANA procedure is guided by the practices summarized in:
“Domain Name System Structure and Delegation” (RFC 1591). This document describes IANA’s practices relating to delegations at its publication in 1994. See http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc1591.txt
“Internet Domain Name System Structure and Delegation.” (ICP-1). This document represents an update of the portions of RFC 1591 dealing with ccTLDs and reflects subsequent evolution of the policies followed by ICANN through May 1999. See http://www.icann.org/icp/icp1.htm.
The Governmental Advisory Committee Principles for Delegation and Administration of ccTLDs (GAC Principles). This document serve as “best practices” to guide governments in assuming proper roles with respect to the Internet's naming system. See http://www.icann.org/committees/gac/gac-cctldprinciples-23feb00.htm.
In considering the delegation or redelegation of a ccTLD, IANA staff seeks input from both the requesting party as well as from persons and/or organizations that may be significantly affected by the change, particularly those within the nation or territory to which the ccTLD is designated. As noted in ICP-1, the parties affected include the relevant government or public authority: "The desires of the government of a country with regard to delegation of a ccTLD are taken very seriously. The IANA will make them a major consideration in any TLD delegation/transfer discussions."
Taking these factors into consideration, the burden of proof required to permit a delegation involves determining facts that relate to the applicant’s capacity to meet the following criteria:
In meeting these criteria, the IANA staff requests information from the applicant. In summary, a request template is sought specifying the exact details of the delegation being sought in the root zone. In addition, IANA staff asks for various documentation describing: the views of the local Internet community on a change; the competencies and skills of the organisation to operate the registry; the legal authenticity, status and character of the proposed operator; and the nature of government support for the proposal.
After receiving these documents, IANA staff analyses the input it has received in relation to existing zone management procedures, seeking input from parties both related to as well as independent of the applying organization should the information provided by the applicant in their request be deficient.
Once all the documentation has been received, IANA staff will also perform various technical checks on the proposed operator’s DNS infrastructure to ensure name servers are properly configured and are able to respond to queries for the top-level domain being requested. Should any anomalies be detected in the applicant’s technical infrastructure, IANA will work with the applicant to address the issues.
Assuming all technical issues are resolved, IANA staff will compile a report, providing all relevant details regarding the applicant, its suitability for operating the top-level domain being requested, and any other information pertinent to the application and submit that report to ICANN’s Board of Directors for its determination on whether to proceed with the request.
This report is being provided under the contract for performance of the IANA function between the United States Government and ICANN. Under that contract, ICANN performs the IANA function, which includes receiving delegation and redelegation requests concerning top-level domains, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and reporting on the requests. Pertaining to the obligations described in the evaluation procedure, in summary IANA staff has assessed the applicant’s credentials to be as follows:
Operational and technical skills
The operator will be the Korea Computer Center (KCC), which was founded on 24 October 1990. According to the documentation provided, the KCC is a state-owned entity, “responsible for the development and organization of the IT-Industry in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” and considered to be the leading organization for information technology development. It is involved in several fields such as software development, research and training.
The applicants provided fairly detailed information on the policies in place for operating the registry. They have also provided detailed description of the technical infrastructure regarding DNS, registry and whois services for the .KP ccTLD.
The information available to IANA staff does not provide clear mechanisms for community input in the operation of the domain.
Operator in country
The KCC is located in the DPRK, with the administrative contact as the Vice President of the KCC. IANA was informed that administrative control would reside at KCC within DPRK, whilst the technical operation of the zone would be performed by KCCE in Germany.
Fair and equitable treatment
The applicant has made undertakings to IANA staff that registrations will be performed on a first-come first-served basis that is fair and equitable.
The ICANN Government Advisory Committee Principles observes that the Internet’s naming system is “a public resource … administered in the public or common interest.” In general, ICANN’s GAC recognizes that each government has the ultimate responsibility within its territory for its national public policy objectives, however in the case of a redelegation, this may be tempered by ICANN’s responsibility to ensure the Internet DNS continues to provide an effective and interoperable global naming system.
The Government of the DPRK, through its Permanent Mission to the United Nations, has been the initiator of the request, and actively supports the delegation. The Supporting Organisation has the full endorsement of the government.
Due to the current lack of development of the Internet in the country, it is difficult to give a clear assessment of the community. In its investigations, IANA staff has determined that Internet development in the country is limited and IANA staff has been unable to conduct an independent review of the local Internet community support.
However, the KCC, as an arm of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and as a government agency, can reasonably be assumed to reliably represent the government’s interest in performing the delegation as requested.
Furthermore, the applicant has asserted it is appropriate that the Government is in the best position to distil the public interest given the limited deployment of Internet to date.
According to RFC 1591 and ICP-1, ICANN needs to respect the ability for a local Internet community, as well as local law and local government to make decisions concerning the operation of their country-code top-level domain.
Based upon our investigation, IANA staff believes that the applicant has met the basic criteria to support a delegation request. We find no reason not to recommend the introduction of the .KP domain into the DNS root zone.
IANA staff therefore concludes that the .KP domain should be delegated to the Korea Computer Center in accordance with their request.
On September 11, 2007 the Board of ICANN passed the following resolution:
Whereas, ICANN has received a request for the delegation of .KP to Korea Computer Center,
Whereas, ICANN has reviewed the request, and has determined that the proposed redelegation would be in the best interest of the local and global Internet communities,
It is hereby resolved (07.74), that the proposed delegation of the .KP domain to Korea Computer Center is approved.