IANA Report on Redelegation of the .ky Top-Level Domain
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (the IANA), as part of the administrative functions associated with management of the domain-name system root, is responsible for receiving requests for delegation and redelegation of top-level domains, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and reporting on the requests. This report gives the findings and conclusions of the IANA on its investigation of a request for redelegation of the .ky (Cayman Islands) country-code top-level domain (ccTLD).
In April 1995, the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute (which then performed the IANA functions) approved a request for establishment of the .ky ccTLD. At that time and today, that two-letter code was and is set forth on the ISO 3166-1 list maintained by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency (ISO 3166/MA) as the approved alpha-2 code for the Cayman Islands.
Upon its establishment in May 1995, the .ky ccTLD was delegated by Dr. Jon Postel (then in charge of the IANA function at the Information Sciences Institute) to Clint Mole, under Cayman Islands Government employment to be the network manager in the Government's Computer Services, as administrative contact, and Andrew Rubin, as technical contact. At that time, it was Dr. Postel's usual practice to delegate authority and responsibilities regarding ccTLDs to trusted individuals. In December 1995, Mr. Mole left the Cayman Islands Government service. During his employment with the Cayman Islands Government, the Government was not aware that Mr. Mole was serving as the administrative contact for the .ky ccTLD.
In early 1996, the Cayman Islands Government became aware that Mr. Mole was the administrative contact of the .ky ccTLD. In 1997, the Government sought to have the administrative and technical contact responsibilities handed over to Cable and Wireless Ltd, the exclusive telecommunications provider for the Cayman Islands. The transfer of administrative and technical contact according to the 1996' request was never completed.
In 1998, Mr. Rubin sought to be relieved from his responsibilities as technical contact for the .ky ccTLD. Mr. Mole was approached by Mr. John Harris, of Domain Name Trust (DNT), who offered to become the technical contact. Mr. Mole signed a contract with DNT that provided for DNT to collect registration revenues and to place a portion into a charitable trust established by Mr. Mole to benefit the Cayman Islands community.
In February 1999, the Cayman Islands Government sought to have all administrative matters relating to the .ky domain transferred to the Government. Because of the pending relationship Mr. Mole had with DNT, Mr. Mole agreed to transfer the responsibilities to the Government, if it honored the contract with DNT. The Government rejected this proposal because it did not consider the contract with DNT to be in the best interests of the local Internet community.
During this time, DNT's interest in the contract was transferred to a new company called DNT(KY), which in turn was purchased by a company called Internet Management Services Inc. (IMS). IMS had appointed Mr. Scott Englund to provide the technical contact services.
In September 2000, the Cayman Islands Government formed the Ministry
of Information Technology. In April 2002, the Cayman Islands Legislative
Assembly (Parliament) enacted the "Information and Communications
Technology Authority Law 2002". A major provision of the law was
the establishment of the Information and Communications Technology Authority
(ICTA) as an independent body, governed by a Board of Directors appointed
from the community, committed by its terms of reference to regular consultations
with all stakeholders. Included in the legislation was a provision giving
ICTA sole responsiblity "for the management and control of the top
level of the global internet Domain Name System held in trust for the
Internet and the Islands". The Law also stipulated that "any
person who, without the written consent of the Authority acts or purports
to act as, or hold himself out as being authorized by the Authority to
act as" the administrative or technical contact for the .ky domain
is guilty of an offense.
In May 2002, ICANN received a letter from the Director of Information Technology Strategy Unit, Cayman Islands Government, requesting that, as a result of legislation and the withdrawal of Mr. Mole from serving as administrative contact, the current delegation be changed. The Cayman Islands Government endorsed ICTA as the appropriate delegee for the .ky ccTLD and requested that ICTA be so recognized under a framework based on the "Principles for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains" issued in February 2000 by ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), commonly known as the "GAC Principles."
To clarify and document the relative roles and responsibilities of ICTA, the Cayman Islands Government, and ICANN, representatives of the parties have drafted the bilateral communications between each pair of the three parties. As between the Government and ICTA, the Information and Communications Technology Authority Law 2002 is consistent with the GAC Principles. The Cayman Islands Government has also sent ICANN communications recognizing ICANN's role in coordinating the DNS to preserve global interoperability. In June 2003, ICTA expressed its desire to execute the appropriate ccTLD Sponsorship Agreement with ICANN, and on 2 June 2003 the ICANN Board authorized the entry of such an agreement with ICTA.
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 ccTLDs, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and making its recommendations and reporting actions undertaken in connection with processing such requests.
In acting on redelegation requests, the IANA currently follows the practices summarized in "Internet Domain Name System Structure and Delegation" (ICP-1). ICP-1 represents an update of the portions of RFC 1591 (which was issued in March 1994) dealing with ccTLDs, and reflects subsequent documents and evolution of the policies followed by the IANA through May 1999. Relevant guidance is also provided in the GAC Principles.
In considering delegation or redelegation of a ccTLD, the IANA seeks input from persons significantly affected by the transfer, particularly those within the nation or territory which the ccTLD has been established to benefit. As noted in ICP-1, the parties affected include especially 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."
The presence or absence of mutual agreement of the old and new delegees
is a significant factor in determining whether redelegation is appropriate.
As stated in ICP-1 (echoing RFC 1591): "In the event of a conflict
over designation of a TLD manager, the IANA tries to have conflicting
parties reach agreement among themselves and generally takes no action
unless all contending parties agree." Nonetheless, in past circumstances
where "the parties involved in proposed delegations or transfers
have not been able to reach an agreement[,] the IANA has been required
to resolve the matter."1 As was observed
in the IANA reports on the redelegation of the .ke and the .pn TLDs, characteristically,
these circumstances have involved an overwhelming demonstration of relevant
support for redelegation,2 or an overwhelming
demonstration of facts that the delegation is appropriate (including when
it includes moving the functioning of the TLD in-country) and in the best
interests of the local Internet community.
As was the case for .au, .jp, sd, and .ke, as reflected in their respective IANA redelegation reports,3 the Cayman Islands Government's communications reflect that the proposed delegation to ICTA is based on the principles of private-sector self-regulation of the type that have allowed and will continue to allow the Internet globally to flourish. The proposal set forth by the Cayman Islands Government and ICTA is consonant with the principle of private-sector responsibility for technical coordination of the Internet.
The GAC Principles serve as "best practices" to guide governments in assuming proper roles with respect to the Internet's naming system, which the GAC has observed is a public resource to be administered in the public interest. In general, they recognize that each government has the ultimate responsibility within its territory for its national public-policy objectives, but also that ICANN has the responsibility for ensuring that the Internet domain-name system continues to provide an effective and interoperable global naming system. The GAC Principles recommend that governments and ICANN pursue their respective roles by creating a framework for accountability memorialized in communications with each other and with the ccTLD manager (see clause 2). The GAC Principles guide governments on how to responsibly structure their relations with ccTLD managers (see clauses 5.5 and 9). Among these specific principles, the best practices contemplate that governments will assist in ensuring that the ccTLD manager complies with ICANN polices related to global coordination of the Internet DNS (clauses 9.1.7 and 9.1.8).
ICTA has committed itself to abiding by the GAC Principles in a 24 April 2003 communication from the Cayman Islands Ministry of Planning, Communications, Works & Information Technology to former ICANN CEO Stuart Lynn. In the 24 April letter, the Government of the Cayman Islands has committed to private-sector management of the .ky ccTLD while providing the Government with the ability to intervene should the private sector be unable to fulfill this function. The letter also recognizes the desirability of private-sector technical coordination of the Internet on a global scale, and affirms that the Cayman Islands Government is committed to ICANN and "considers ICANN to be the appropriate international entity to oversee the technical coordination of the Internet in a manner that will preserve it as an effective and convenient mechanism for global communication and commerce."
By migrating the delegation of the .ky ccTLD from the responsibility of an individual acting under informal understandings with the IANA to a more formal, legally enforceable, set of arrangements among a delegee organization, the relevant government, and ICANN (which performs the IANA function), the proposed delegation will promote service to the local Internet community and will help assure continued Internet interoperability through the global technical coordination that ICANN was created to provide. In this regard, the recognition the Cayman Islands Government's discussion of the need for close coordination with ICANN is particularly noteworthy.
According to the relevant communications, ICTA is well-suited to be inclusive of, and accountable to, the Cayman Islands Internet community and to operate through appropriate open, transparent, and inclusive processes.
The structure proposed by ICTA and endorsed by the Cayman Islands Government is to have ICTA undertake management of the .ky ccTLD under appropriate oversight of the Cayman Islands Government concerning the national policy interests. ICTA and the Cayman Islands Government also acknowledge and support ICANN's responsibility for coordinating management of the DNS, including the .ky ccTLD, to safeguard global technical-coordination interests. In reviewing the request and in light of the Cayman Islands Government's endorsement of ICTA as the appropriate private-sector manager, and in view of achievement of agreements documenting the framework of accountability described above, the IANA concludes that the .ky ccTLD should be redelegated to ICTA.
1. See ICP-1.
2. See IANA Report on Request for Redelegation of the .pn Top-Level Domain (11 February 2000); IANA Report on Request for Redelegation of the .ke Top-Level Domain (20 December 2002).
3. See IANA Report on Request for Redelegation of the .au Top-Level Domain (31 August 2001); IANA Report on Request of the .jp Top-Level Domain (8 February 2002); IANA Report on Request for Redelegation of the .ke Top-Level Domain (20 December 2002); IANA Report on Request for Redelegation of the .sd Top-Level Domain (20 December 2002).
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