IANA Report on Redelegation of the .tw 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. In September 2000, the IANA received a preliminary request for redelegation of the .tw (Taiwan) country-code top-level domain (ccTLD). This report gives the findings and conclusions of the IANA on its investigation of that request.
The .tw ccTLD registry was established by the IANA in July 1989 and initially delegated to Mr. Wen-Sung Chen, Deputy Director of Computer Center at the Ministry of Education, as administrative contact, and Mr. Chin-Hai Yin, Senior Systems Analyst, as technical contact. In July 1990, the Ministry of Education formed TANet, which among other things assumed operational responsibilities for .tw domain-name registration activities under the .tw ccTLD registry. In March 1994, the Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC) was commenced as a two-year experimental project to assume these operational responsibilities for the .tw ccTLD.
In 1995, Mr. W.S. Chen (who changed jobs to become Associate Professor at the National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology) was replaced as administrative contact by Mr. Chin-Hai Yin. Also in 1995, Mr. Chin-Hai Yin was replaced as technical contact by his colleague, Ms. Erin Chen.
Beginning in October 1996, TWNIC assumed operational responsibilities for .tw registrations. TWNIC also began its formal process of incorporation. In 1998, the National Information Infrastructure (NII) Task Force determined that the Directorate General of Telecommunications (DGT) would monitor the process of TWNIC's incorporation as a non-profit organization.
In approximately 1998, Ms. Shih-Chiung Ouyang became the administrative contact and Mr. Nai-Wen Hsu became the technical contact for the .tw ccTLD. (Both were formally employed by the Computer Center at the Ministry of Education.) On 29 December 1999, TWNIC became legally incorporated, with its operation as a corporate body supervised by DGT. Ms. Shih-Chiung Ouyang and Mr. Nai-Wen Hsu were shifted to the employment of TWNIC. In 1999, following TWNIC's incorporation, Vincent WS Chen was appointed as the Executive Director of TWNIC.
In September 2000, the IANA received a request from Hostmaster TWNIC that the administrative contact be changed from Ms. Shih-Chiung Ouyang to Wen-Sung Chen, likewise of TWNIC. In December 2001, the IANA received a letter from the Directorate General of Telecommunications (DGT), noting that DGT intended to formally recognize "TWNIC as the appropriate entity to hold the delegation of authority by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for administrative authority of the .tw country code top level domain (ccTLD)."
TWNIC is the organizational center for national network information in Taiwan. As a neutral and non-profit organization, TWNIC is responsible for the domain-name registrations and IP address allocations in Taiwan. In addition to providing network services, TWNIC's mission includes seeking to assure the healthy and rapid growth of the Internet industry in Taiwan through assistance of industry in promoting Internet use and coordinating the exchange and integration of Internet information services. Additionally, TWNIC coordinates and facilitates activities and cooperation between Taiwan and international Internet-related organizations.
In a letter dated 11 March 2003, DGT wrote to ICANN formally endorsing TWNIC as the appropriate holder of the delegation for the .tw ccTLD. The letter further attached an exchange of letters between DGT and TWNIC, which together specified in detail the arrangements by which DGT and TWNIC would fulfill their respective roles and responsibilities to assure that the .tw registry is operated in the interests of the local Internet community.
TWNIC and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) agreed on language for a sponsorship agreement under which TWNIC would assume the responsibility of as sponsoring organization/delegee of the .tw ccTLD. On 26 March 2003, ICANN and TWNIC entered a Sponsorship Agreement, which closely parallels the model Sponsorship Agreement ICANN has entered for other ccTLDs involving triangular relationships among ICANN, private-sector sponsoring organizations, and public authorities.
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 February 2000 "Principles for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains" issued by the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). (These are commonly known as 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, and the desires of a government or public authority are a major consideration in connection with any TLD delegation or redelegation.
Based on the materials submitted and the IANA’s evaluation of the circumstances, TWNIC appears to be an appropriate and technically competent manager for the .tw registry, with broad support from the Taiwan Internet community, including the DGT. TWNIC, as the current sponsoring organization and the employer of the current administrative and technical contacts, has for some time been providing the operational and policy-development functions for the .tw ccTLD. As noted above, DGT has formally endorsed TWNIC as the appropriate delegee for the .tw registry. Additional endorsements gathered in the IANA's investigation also demonstrate that TWNIC enjoys broad support among private-sector participants in the local Internet community.
Agreement of the present delegees is also a significant factor favoring a redelegation. Here, the present administrative and technical contacts favor changing the delegation to TWNIC.
As part of its redelegation request, TWNIC provided the IANA with a copy of its intended registration policies. The IANA has reviewed those policies and found them to be consistent with ICP-1 and RFC 1591. TWNIC technical plans and resources are adequate to the likely needs of the .tw ccTLD.
As noted above, in February 2000 ICANN's GAC issued Principles for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains. These 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, the GAC Principles recognize that each government and public authority 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).
TWNIC has committed itself to abide by the GAC Principles, and its responsibilities under clause 9, in a 9 October 2002 communication from TWNIC to DGT. This reaffirms that TWNIC is committed to carrying out its responsibilities for ensuring the interests of the local Internet community are being served. In the case of the .tw ccTLD, DGT has assumed the responsibility for ensuring that TWNIC carries out its local responsibilities within a framework of accountability, openness, and service to the local Internet community. In a letter from DGT to ICANN, DGT has committed to private-sector management of the .tw ccTLD while providing DGT 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 DGT "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."
According to the design described in its constitution, and the relevant communications, TWNIC is well-suited to be inclusive of, and accountable to, the local Internet community and to operate through appropriate open, transparent, and inclusive processes.
The structure proposed by TWNIC and endorsed by DGT is to have TWNIC undertake management of the .tw ccTLD under appropriate oversight by DGT (concerning national public-policy interests) and ICANN (concerning global technical-coordination interests). This structure is consonant with the principle of private-sector responsibility for technical coordination under which the Internet has flourished. In reviewing the request and in light of (a) DGT's endorsement of TWNIC as the appropriate private-sector manager and (b) TWNIC's entry of a sponsorship agreement embodying an appropriate framework of accountability, the IANA concludes that TWNIC is the appropriate delegee of the .tw ccTLD.
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