Redelegation of the .KP domain representing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to Star Joint Venture Company

ICANN has received a request to redelegate the .KP domain, a country-code top-level domain representing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, to Star Joint Venture Company. ICANN Staff have assessed the request, and provide this report for the ICANN Board of Directors to consider.

Factual Information

Country

The “KP” ISO 3166-1 code is designated for use to represent the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Chronology of events

The top-level domain .KP was initially delegated in 2007 to Korea Computer Center, see http://www.iana.org/reports/2007/kp-report-11sep2007.html for information on the original delegation action.

In 2010, the authoritative name servers for the .KP became completely lame, effectively stopping the top-level domain from operating. Korea Computer Center reached out to KCC Europe (KCCE), its Germany-based technical registry provider, to have service reinstated. After several months without response, Korea Computer Center terminated KCCE’s agreement to operate the .KP domain.

In the mean time, Star Joint Venture Company set to work in late 2010 to develop the requisite infrastructure in the country to support operation of the .KP domain. It was subsequently endorsed by the DPRK Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications to transfer operation of the domain from Korea Computer Center to Star Joint Venture Company.

In light of the continuing lack of operation of the .KP, KCC supported an interim change of the nameserver records for the .KP to a new set managed by Star Joint Venture Company. This interim change was conducted in December 2010 in order to restore functionality of the .KP top-level domain.

Proposed Sponsoring Organisation and Contacts

The proposed sponsoring organisation is Star Joint Venture Company, based in Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The company is a joint venture between the Korean Post and Telecommunications Corporation, a governmental enterprise; and Loxley Pacific Company Limited. The joint venture is chartered to establish modern Internet services in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The proposed administrative and technical contact is Kang Yong Su, the President of Star Joint Venture Company. The administrative contact is understood to be based in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Evaluation of the Request

String Eligibility

The top-level domain “.KP” is eligible for continued delegation under ICANN policy, as it is the assigned ISO 3166-1 two-letter code representing the Democratic People’s Repulblic of Korea.

Public Interest

The request to redelegate the .KP top-level domain is supported by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. A letter of authorisation was transmitted jointly by Mr H.E. Ryu Yong Sop, the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications; and Mr Han U Chol, the Director-General of the Korea Computer Center.

The application is consistent with known applicable local laws in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The proposed sponsoring organisation undertakes to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner.

Based in country

The proposed sponsoring organisation is constituted in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The registry is to be operated in the country.

Stability

The request is deemed uncontested, with the current sponsoring organisation consenting to the transfer.

Competency

The application has provided satisfactory details on the technical and operational infrastructure and expertise that will be used to operate the proposed new domain. Proposed policies for management of the domain have also been tendered.

Evaluation Procedure

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is tasked with managing the Domain Name System root zone as part of a set of functions governed by a contract with the U.S. Government. This includes managing the delegations of top-level domains.

A subset of top-level domains are designated for the local Internet communities in countries to operate in a way that best suits their local needs. These are known as country-code top-level domains, and are assigned by ICANN to responsible trustees (known as “Sponsoring Organisations”) who meet a number of public-interest criteria for eligibility. These criteria largely relate to the level of support the trustee has from their local Internet community, their capacity to ensure stable operation of the domain, and their applicability under any relevant local laws.

Through an ICANN department known as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), requests are received for delegating new country-code top-level domains, and redelegating or revoking existing country-code top-level domains. An investigation is performed on the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and, when appropriate, the requests are implemented. Decisions on whether to implement requests are made by the ICANN Board of Directors, taking into account ICANN’s core mission of ensuring the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.

Purpose of evaluations

The evaluation of eligibility for country-code top-level domains, and of evaluating responsible trustees charged with operating them, is guided by a number of principles. The objective of the assessment is that the action enhances the secure and stable operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems. The evolution of the principles has been documented in “Domain Name System Structure and Delegation” (RFC 1591), “Internet Domain Name System Structure and Delegation” (ICP-1), and other informational memoranda.

In considering requests to delegate or redelegate country-code top-level domains, input is sought regarding the proposed new Sponsoring Organisation, as well as from persons and organisations that may be significantly affected by the change, particularly those within the nation or territory to which the ccTLD is designated.

The assessment is focussed on the capacity for the proposed sponsoring organisation to meet the following criteria:

Method of evaluation

To assess these criteria, information is requested from the applicant regarding the proposed sponsoring organisation and method of operation. In summary, a request template is sought specifying the exact details of the delegation being sought in the root zone. In addition, various documentation is sought describing: the views of the local internet community on the application; the competencies and skills of the trustee to operate the domain; the legal authenticity, status and character of the proposed trustee; and the nature of government support fort he proposal. The view of any current trustee is obtained, and in the event of a redelegation, the transfer plan from the previous sponsoring organisation to the new sponsoring organisation is also assessed with a view to ensuring ongoing stable operation of the domain.

After receiving this documentation and input, it is analysed in relation to existing root zone management procedures, seeking input from parties both related to as well as independent of the proposed sponsoring organisation should the information provided in the original application be deficient. The applicant is given the opportunity to cure any deficiencies before a final assessment is made.

Once all the documentation has been received, various technical checks are performed on the proposed sponsoring organisation’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, ICANN staff will work with the applicant to address the issues.

Assuming all issues are resolved, an assessment is compiled providing all relevant details regarding the proposed sponsoring organisation and its suitability to operate the top-level domain being requested. This assessment is submitted to ICANN’s Board of Directors for its determination on whether to proceed with the request.