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Document INF/4-E

26 September 2002

Original: French/





Note by the Secretary-General


Information paper



I have the honour to bring to the attention of the conference, the annexed Report on ITU activities related to Resolution 102: Management of Internet names and address.



                                                                                                                        Yoshio UTSUMI



report on itu activities related to resolution 102: MANAGEMENT OF INTERNET NAMES AND ADDRESSES


1.       Introduction

1.1     As instructed in Resolution 102 (Minneapolis, 1998) on Management of Internet domain names and addresses[i], related activities have been previously reported to Council in documents C99/51, C00/27, C00/27B, C01/EP/8, and C02/46. Although Resolution 102 did not instruct Council to report to the Plenipotentiary on progress, it may be helpful to do so. This document provides an overview of related ITU activities and developments; particularly ITU’s recent activities related to ICANN reform and further developments after Council 2002.

2.       Background

2.1     The development of an appropriate framework for administration and evolution of the Internet’s naming and addressing system has had a long and widely debated history. The ITU’s involvement dates to 1996 when it was requested to co-operate with an Internet Society initiative that formed the International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC)[ii]. The IAHC released a study on generic top-level domains (gTLDs) management in the report: “Recommendations for Administration and Management of gTLDs”[iii]. This activity resulted in the establishment in 1997 of a Generic Top Level Domain Memorandum of Understanding (gTLD-MoU),[iv] for which the ITU Secretary-General agreed to act as depository to signatories.

2.2     In partial reaction to this plan, the US Administration released a “Green Paper” in January 1998 outlining a “Proposed Rule” where the US Department of Commerce (USDOC) would license new Internet top-level domain registries. Following public comment on this paper, USDOC issued in June 1998 a “Statement of Policy” concerning “Management of Internet Names and Addresses” [v], also known as the “White Paper”, that moved away from “substantive regulatory provisions” but defined broad principles and procedures that it would use to transition “from its existing management role” to a “new non-profit corporation”. In this paper, the US Administration stated its views on the role of governments in management of Internet names and addresses:

“the U.S. continues to believe, as do most commenters, that neither national governments acting as sovereigns nor intergovernmental organizations acting as representatives of governments should participate in management of Internet names and addresses.”

2.3     This position was a foundation of the White Paper, which called for oversight of Internet names and addresses to be done by a new private, not-for-profit corporation headquartered in the United States. The White Paper noted the US Administration would maintain an oversight role:

“until such time as the new corporation was established and stable, phasing out as soon as possible, but in no event later than September 30, 2000.”

2.4     In November 1998, shortly after the adoption of Resolution 102 at the ITU 1998 Plenipotentiary, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was entered into between USDOC and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit corporation established under the laws of the State of California, in the United States[vi]. ICANN’s web site says it “is the non-profit corporation that was formed to assume responsibility for the IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management functions …”[vii]. The USDOC MoU with ICANN has been extended three times. The most recent extension, until 30 September 2003, was recently announced on 20 September 2002[viii].

2.5     After Plenipotentiary 1998, there were some developments with regard to ICANN and the role of governments. In February 1999, following negotiations between some Administrations and ICANN staff and/or its legal counsel, an ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC)[ix] was created. Although the ITU Secretariat, after the adoption of Resolution 102, was closely monitoring ICANN’s activities at this time, it was not involved in or aware of the discussions that resulted in the creation and particular legal formulation of GAC. The GAC is a body of government representatives that can, under ICANN’s bylaws, only provide non-binding advice to the ICANN Board of Directors. Representatives of several intergovernmental entities, such as the European Union, ITU, OECD and WIPO, also participate in GAC meetings.

2.6     There are a number of different views among ITU Member States as to the appropriate level of governmental involvement in management of Internet names and addresses, particularly where there is overlap with public policy issues (e.g. intellectual property, promotion of competition, consumer protection, privacy, telecommunications regulation, equitable access, country code top level domains, security, domain names associated with cultural, ethnic, geographical and/or geo-political units). There are also discussions as to what legal form this should take and whether the current arrangements remain the most appropriate framework. This suggests that reflection on the specific role of government and their relationship with Internet technical administrative bodies is still underway and is likely to continue to evolve in the coming years.

3.       Management of Country Code Top Level Domains

3.1     A specific example where the interests of ITU Member States overlap with management of Internet names is in the area of country code top level domains (ccTLDs), where there are complex issues, inter alia,  related to national sovereignty, critical infrastructure protection, security and international law. During the last few years, the ITU has received an increasing number of enquiries and requests for assistance concerning the delegations as well as recommended practices for country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). While there are some ITU Member States that, through government agencies, act as ccTLD administrators or recognize (either informally or formally) private ccTLD administrators, in other cases governments take a hands-off approach to ccTLD administration.  More importantly, there are some Member States, in particular developing countries, that have had prolonged disagreements with the current delegation and management of their ccTLD. In some cases, these ccTLDs are operated by private entities outside the relevant country or jurisdiction. Some guidelines have been developed in this area but to date there has not been general wide acceptance of appropriate policies. It should also be noted that because USDOC maintains an oversight role of some ICANN activities, including the approval of changes in the DNS root servers, all ccTLD administration changes require approval by USDOC[x].

4.       ENUM

4.1     Another specific example that merits close attention by ITU Member States is ENUM[xi], which takes numbers from the international public telecommunication numbering plan (ITU-T Recommendation E.164[xii]) and incorporates them into the DNS for the purpose of identifying and finding network resources. This includes the possibility of assignment of E.164 resources to Internet Protocol (IP)-based devices. ENUM has a potential impact on national regulatory and legislative frameworks vis-à-vis a converged telecommunications and Internet/IP environment and therefore deserves appropriate consideration. The development of a stable international framework for ENUM deployment would require the assignment of authority over elements of the E.164 number space when mapped into the DNS, as well as the assignment of ongoing management to one or more responsible authorities in each ITU Member State. The ITU has hosted several consultative and tutorial workshops on ENUM.  ITU-T Study Group 2 is currently developing a draft Recommendation to deal with certain issues related to ENUM, has published a Supplement, and has agreed interim procedures to allow ENUM trial implementations to take place.[xiii]

5.       Multilingual Domain Names

5.1     The deployment of non-ASCII or multilingual domain names raises a number of complex issues, many of which are of direct concern to ITU Member States. These include, inter alia, new top-level domains having semantic association with politically sensitive cultural, ethnic, geographical and/or geo-political units, technical and interoperability issues, competition policy and market access, as well as intellectual property and dispute resolution.

5.2     In December 2001, the ITU and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in association with the Multilingual Internet Names Consortium[xiv] (MINC), organized a Joint Symposium on Multilingual Domain Names[xv]. Day one of the Symposium was led by ITU and dealt with technology and policy issues. Day two was led by WIPO and dealt with intellectual property and dispute resolution issues. ITU and WIPO both provided briefing papers available on the Symposium’s web site[xvi]. The Symposium brought together some 200 participants drawn from the Internet and legal communities, as well as policy-makers and government representatives. The objective was to raise further understanding of the subject matter as well as offer an opportunity to share views on possible approaches.

6.       Intellectual Property Issues

6.1     Resolution 102 instructed the Secretary-General to pay special attention to the activities of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) vis-à-vis Internet names and addresses. In addition to the joint activity on multilingual domain names referenced above, of particular interest to ITU Member States is WIPO’s activities concerning protection against abusive domain name registrations related to the names of countries and the names and acronyms of international intergovernmental organizations. With regard to the former, special extraordinary measures for country names in relation to the recently released .INFO top-level domain have been taken by ICANN, based on a request from GAC. WIPO’s General Assembly meeting, starting 23 September 2002, shall consider specific recommendations from WIPO’s Standing Committee on Trademarks for protective measures in this area.

7.       IPv6

7.1     At the request of the IPv6 Forum[xvii], the ITU has participated in the 1st and 2nd phases of an IPv6 Task Force with the intent to develop an action plan aimed at ensuring the timely availability of Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6). The ITU hosted a meeting of the 1st phase Task Force in January 2002 in Geneva. In May 2002, the ITU‑T also hosted a tutorial workshop on IPv6[xviii].

8.       ITU-T and ICANN Reform

8.1     At its 22 April-3 May 2002 meeting, Council discussed C02/46 and in particular the associated Annex on "ITU and ICANN Reform".  Council unanimously supported the initiative of the Director of TSB in proposing to engage in discussions with ICANN with respect to increasing cooperation between ITU-T and ICANN.  Council requested that the Director of TSB keep ITU Member States informed with respect to future developments.  The Council discussion is captured in C02/92. In response to the requests by Council, a number of actions were taken, which are reported on below.

8.2     Discussions in ITU-T Study Group 2

8.3     At its 7-16 May 2002 meeting ITU-T Study Group 2 (SG2) discussed the Annex to C02/46 as well as the longer paper referenced in that Annex.  SG2 agreed the following statement and transmitted it as a liaison to the Telecommunications Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) (COM 2-LS 52/2 Rev 1):

“There was consensus to support the ITU's involvement in the ICANN reform process, but it is clearly recognized that the next actions are up to ICANN.

There was also consensus that it is too early to make specific comments on specific areas of potential collaboration between ITU and ICANN.”

8.4     Discussions in TSAG

8.5     At its 17-21 June 2002 meeting, TSAG discussed the Annex to C02/46 as well as the longer paper referenced in the Annex.  TSAG agreed the following statement (TSAG-R 16):

“TSAG recognizes and appreciates the support extended to the TSB Director by the 2002 session of the ITU Council for his initiative in providing input to the ICANN reform process.  TSAG strongly encourages the Director to continue his efforts in these matters in line with the guidance offered by the ITU Council.”

8.6     In addition, the ITU representatives to ICANN's Protocol Supporting Organization (PSO)[xix] sent the following statement to the ICANN Evolution and Reform Committee (ERC):


“The PSO had originally been set up because ICANN wanted to take advantage of getting technical advice from a wide cross section of standards bodies.  The view of the ITU is that the PSO is serving a useful purpose but if it is to be discontinued under the ICANN reform then ICANN should recognize the value of their relationship with the ITU (and the other PSO standards organizations) and should find in any new organization a way for this relationship to continue.”

8.7     GAC Discussions in Canberra and Bucharest

8.8     A GAC meeting was held 3-4 June 2002 in Canberra, Australia.  At that meeting, the ITU representative presented the Annex to C02/46 as well as the longer paper referenced in that Annex and summarized the discussions that had taken place in Council and SG2.  The consensus of GAC was that further discussions should take place concerning possible future cooperation between ICANN and ITU and that, in particular, consideration of the role of ITU-T with respect to ccTLD re-delegations would be appropriate.

8.9     A GAC meeting was held from 24-26 June 2002 in Bucharest, Romania as part of the scheduled ICANN meeting. The main topic of the GAC meeting was ICANN reform. After long discussions, the GAC issued a Statement on ICANN Reform[xx].  Based on interpretation of Resolution 102, discussions in Council 2002 and TSAG, ITU representatives to GAC expressed some reservations with respect to the statements issued by GAC on ICANN Reform at its Bucharest meeting (see Annex A), as did some other GAC members. The reservations expressed by the ITU Secretariat are reproduced in Annex A.

8.10   In its Statement, the GAC suggests changes to ICANN's mission statement, primarily to make it clear that ICANN should focus on the coordination of certain core technical and directly related policy areas[xxi] and to recognize the role of governments as representatives of the public interest. In its Statement, the GAC also recognizes that relevant intergovernmental organizations have a valuable contribution to make in their areas of expertise.

8.11   Additional Recent Activities after Council 2002

8.12   ICANN's ERC has posted a number of updates of its activities after the Bucharest meeting[xxii]. 

8.13   On 19 June 2002, in connection with the ICANN Protocol Supporting Organization (PSO) plenary meeting, the Director of TSB met with Mr Andrew McLaughlin, Chief Policy Officer of ICANN.  Discussions were positive and constructive.  It was agreed that further discussions between TSB staff and ICANN staff would be productive and could result in agreements on specific cooperative actions.

8.14   On 31 July 2002, in response to a number of questions, TSB staff posted clarifications to the previously published papers on ITU and ICANN Reform[xxiii].

8.15   On 9 August 2002, the Director of TSB met with the President of ICANN, Mr Stuart Lynn, at ITU Headquarters.  The Director presented a discussion paper to Mr. Lynn.  It was agreed that it would be worthwhile to have future discussions to explore possible ways of increasing cooperation between ICANN and ITU-T.

8.16   On 28 August 2002, the Director of TSB met with US Assistant Secretary of Commerce Nancy Victory in Washington, D.C.

8.17   On 29 August 2002, the Director of TSB met with the President of ICANN in Los Angeles, California.

8.18   On 9 September 2002, TSB Staff made a presentation to CENTR, the forum of European ccTLD operators in Vilnius, Lithuania.

8.19   On 19 September 2002, the Director of TSB and TSB and General Secretariat staff met with representatives of governments comprising the European Union in Bruxelles, Belgium.

8.20   TSB Circular No.125 was issued on 16 September 2002 in 6 languages entitled “Developments with respect to Management of Internet Domain Names and Addresses”, which provides the information on actions taken by TSB after Council-02.

Annex A

ITU Reservations to GAC Statement on ICANN Reform

The ITU Secretariat expresses the following reservations with respect to the 27 June 2002 GAC Statement on ICANN Evolution and Reform.

1.      The ITU Secretariat notes that the statement in paragraph 1 in the 27 June 2002 GAC statement makes reference to the Communiqué of 2 March 1999. This particular reference is a statement of the national governments present (see and, at the request of the ITU in 1999, specifically excluded making reference to intergovernmental organizations.

2.      The issue of ICANN Evolution and Reform and the relations between ITU and ICANN have been discussed in a number of ITU bodies, notably ITU Council, ITU-T Study Group 2, and the ITU-T Telecommunications Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG). While there is unanimous support within ITU for increased cooperation between ICANN and ITU, varying views have been expressed with respect to the best ways to increase cooperation, with some Member States favoring continued reliance on ITU participation in ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee and Protocol Supporting Organization, while other Member States propose exploration of a wider range of options for cooperation.

3.      Because of the range of views expressed by ITU Member States on many of the topics covered in the Statement, the ITU Secretariat must disassociate itself from a number of the substantive conclusions made in the GAC statement on ICANN Evolution and Reform. In particular, inter alia:

a.       The ITU Secretariat notes that while the GAC “shares the view” that a private/public sector partnership is essential (paragraph 8), it refers to ICANN as a “private sector body” (paragraph 3). The ITU Secretariat considers that unclear boundaries between the role of the “private sector” and the role of “public sector” as well as the legal form and venue of ICANN, and, in particular, the role of GAC as an “Advisory Committee”, will continue to pose fundamental structural difficulties. For example, the Secretariat is unaware of any “private sector body” that would have its “Core Values” and/or “Mission Statement” subject to detailed editing by government representatives.

b.      The ITU Secretariat considers that ICANN cannot be characterized as a “private sector body” if its existence, particular responsibilities and oversight is subject to ongoing oversight of a single government. On the other hand, if a “private/public sector partnership is essential” and a private sector body is to be chartered or mandated with certain responsibilities by governments collectively, then in accordance with ITU Plenipotentiary Resolution 102 (Minneapolis 1998): “it must flow from full international cooperation” and “the role of governments is to provide a clear, consistent and predictable legal framework”.

c.       With respect to consensus, given that ICANN has explicitly asked for advice, we note that telecommunications standardization and policy-making activities have a long tradition of being based on bottoms-up consensus-based decision making, and that this tradition continues to guide work on IP-based networks and IP-based services in many standardization bodies and forums.

d.      With respect to funding, given that ICANN has explicitly asked for advice, we note the current trend in telecommunications in many countries towards national policies that favour market pricing mechanisms, reductions in cross-subsidization mechanisms, and cost-based pricing.



[x] Cooperative Agreement No. NCR-9218742, Amendment 11,

[xi] See for an overview of ENUM and ITU activities.

[xii] ITU-T Recommendation E.164 titled “The International Public Telecommunications Numbering Plan” specifies the format and types of use of public telephone numbers.

[xxi] As stated by US Assistant Secretary of Commerce Nancy Victory in testimony to the US House of Representatives on 12 June 2002: " The Department believes ICANN's efforts should be focused around coordination of the core technical and directly related policy areas initially set forth in the Department's 1998 Statement of Policy. We agree with the majority of stakeholders that ICANN's mission must 'stay narrow.' ICANN is not, and should not become, the 'government of the Internet.'"



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