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.
.UM is the ccTLD designation for the United States Minor Outlying Islands. These islands consist of the Pacific islands of Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnson Atoll, Kinman Reef, Midway Island, Palmyra Atoll and Wake Island; and the Caribbean island of Navassa Island. Most of these islands are uninhabited, but some have military and civilian residents.
In December 1997 .UM was delegated to USC/ISI with the USDR (United States Domain Registrar) as the designated Administrative and Technical contact. USDR was operated by USC/ISI.
In November 2000, the name of the sponsoring organization was changed to United States Minor Outlying Islands Registry, with the Admin and Tech contact changed to reflect the same name.
Throughout 2006, the .UM zone was a lame delegation1. IANA received a number of enquiries regarding this, and IANA approached ISI to determine the status of the registry. USC/ISI responded in October 2006, declaring that they are no longer interested in managing the .UM domain, and asking for the delegation to be removed.
There appear to have been no registrations in .UM historically, and there are no current delegations in the zone. The currently designated name servers appear to be have been repaired in December 2006 so they are no longer lame.
Under these circumstances, IANA recommends that the .UM delegation be removed and that .UM be returned to the pool of unallocated ccTLDs.
As this involves revoking a delegation, and there are no affected parties, there is little to consider. The removal has the consent of the current operator. The removal would not preclude any future operation of the domain that meets the standard ccTLD delegation criteria.
IANA recommends that .UM be returned to unallocated status, and removed from the DNS root zone.
On 16 January 2007 the Board of ICANN passed the following resolution:
Whereas, the .UM top-level domain was originally delegated in December 1997.
Whereas, the currently assigned operator is the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute.
Whereas, the .UM domain is not in active use, and the current operator no longer wishes to operate it.
Whereas, ICANN has reviewed the request, and has determined that the returning the domain to unassigned status is the appropriate action to reflect its status.
Recognizing, this would not prohibit future delegation of the domain to another party that meets the regular ccTLD delegation criteria.
Resolved (07.04), that the delegation of .UM be removed from the DNS root, and that it be returned to unassigned status.
On 12 March 2008, IANA received a letter from the United States Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, noting that the .UM domain is associated with a group of islands under the jurisdiction of the United States, and thus, any decision regarding the domain must have the approval of the U.S. Government. The letter expressed that the U.S. Government had no objection to USC/ISI’s request to no longer operate the .UM domain. In addition, the letter supported the ICANN Board’s recommendation that the .UM domain be placed in an unassigned status. The letter also noted that ICANN should take no action with respect to future delegation of the .UM domain without consultation with and prior approval of the U.S. Government.
1Lame name servers are name servers that return a response to enquiries for a domain name that indicates they are not configured to be authoritative that domain name. A lame delegation is where ALL listed authoritative name servers respond in this way.