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Tuesday, February 28, 2006


China confirms alternate root for TLDs

From the People's Daily Online:

"China's Ministry of Information Industry (MII) has made adjustment to China's Internet domain name system in accordance with Article 6 of China Internet Domain Names Regulations. After the adjustment, ".MIL" will be added under the top-level domain (TLD) name of "CN". A new Internet domain name system will take effect as of March 1 in China.

Under the new system, besides "CN", three Chinese TLD names "CN", "COM" and "NET" are temporarily set. It means Internet users don't have to surf the Web via the servers under the management of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) of the United States.

The new regulations stipulate that under "CN", two types of second-level domain names, namely categorized domain names and those for administrative regions. There'll be seven categories: "AC" for research institutions; "EDU" for Chinese educational institutions; "GOV" for Chinese government departments and "MIL" for Chinese defense departments.

There'll be 34 domain names for the organizations of China's provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under central government, and special administrative regions. They are mainly composed of the first letters of the Romanized spelling of the names of the regions, for example Beijing's domain name is "BJ" and Shanghai's is "SH". "

Initial commentary from the DNS community has been swift with Michael Geist
stating [excerpt]:

"In other words, the Chinese Internet becomes a reality tomorrow. With it, the rules of the game may change as 110 million Internet users will suddenly have access to a competing dot-com (albeit in a different character set) and will no longer rely exclusively on ICANN for the resolution of Internet domain name queries. This change was probably inevitable regardless of the status of ICANN, however, the U.S. position can't possibly have helped matters. Indeed, some might note that while Congress has been criticizing U.S. companies for harming Internet freedoms by cooperating with Chinese law enforcement, those same Congressional leaders may have done the same by refusing to even consider surrendering some control over the Internet root to the international community and thereby opening the door to an alternate root that could prove even worse from a freedom perspective."

Editor's note: The Chinese have successfully routed around ICANN's heavy-handed ICP-3 policy regarding alternate roots proving once again that the ICANN's policies were badly misguided (as many in ICANN's General Assembly had warned). Maybe ICANN will finally start listening now...

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