[i.t. matters] INTERNATIONAL ARBITER RELUCTANT TO STEP INTO .ph DISPUTE

Andy Mueller-Maguhn (by way of chiari mario <chiari.hm@flashnet.it>) andy a CCC.DE
Mer 16 Maggio 2001 01:01:58 CEST


FYI, qualche interessante spunto su IANA e questioni di ccTLD. m.

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INTERNATIONAL ARBITER RELUCTANT TO STEP INTO .ph DISPUTE

Veronica C. Silva

i.t. Matters

May 7, 2001

The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) would
be willing to step the raging .ph controversy if this cannot be resolved
domestically.

This was the opinion shared by Dr. Jun Murai, one of the original members
of the board of directors of ICANN, in a recent interview with i.t.
matters. Mr. Murai was in the country last week for a meeting of the Asian
Internet Interconnection Initiative (AI3), a regional initiative to connect
research and educational institutions using high-bandwidth satellite
connection.

Mr. Murai is professor of Keio University of Japan, one of the original
members of AI3. He is also president of Japan Network Information Center, a
non-profit organization managing Japan's Internet resources, such as domain
names and Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Mr. Murai was named to the
ICANN board in 1998, when it was established. He joins Vinton G. Cerf,
incumbent ICANN chairman who is widely recognized as one of the fathers of
the Internet.

ICANN is a non-profit, private international corporation recognized as "the
global consensus entity to coordinate the technical management of the
Internet's domain name system, the allocation of IP address space, the
assignment of protocol parameters, and the management of the root server
system." ICANN has taken over the task of the Internet Assigned Numbers
Authority (IANA) in administering the domain name service (DNS).

ARBITER

ICANN is likewise being considered by local contending parties as the
possible final arbiter to resolve the issue of the domain name registry of
the Philippines, or the .ph issue. The opposing parties are the current
ccTLD manager, in the person of Jose Emmanuel Disini, and a group which has
organized itself to represent the local Internet community. The group is
called the Philippine Domain Authority Conveners (PhilDAC), led by JR
Contreras, acting president of the Philippine Internet Service Organization
(PISO), an organization of local Internet service providers (ISPs).

Among the complaints raised against the .ph registry are the non-issuance
of official receipts; reseller policies; inefficiency of service; the
national patrimony issue since the .ph country domain has been allegedly
commercialized as the .phone domain; lack of clear policies; suddent and
warranted price increases; failure to consult the local Internet community;
non-refund of payments when the domain is not available; conflict of
interest in owning both an ISP and domain registry, among others.

On the other hand, the .ph administration, led by Mr. Disini and his Dotph,
Inc. company where he is chief executive officer, has maintained that it
provides reliable service and is not engaging in unfair practices.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which heads the policy,
advisory public-private sector body Information Technology and E-Commerce
Council (ITECC), has already stepped into the squabble.

ITECC, in its regular monthly meeting last Thursday, agreed to study the
.ph matter thoroughly before communicating with ICANN.

DTI said in a press statement last April 17 that the opposing parties have
agreed that the DTI will send a letter of inquiry to ICANN to clarify the
extent of the Philippine government's involvement in this issue. ITECC
agreed that the study on the .ph issue should include the position of the
government on the issue.

PhilDAC is currently collating documentation of alleged consumer complaints
which will be submitted to DTI's Bureau of Trade Regulations and Consumer
Protection (BTRCP), in line with DTI's mandate under the E-Commerce Act, or
Republic Act 8792.

RELUCTANT

Initially, Mr. Murai said ICANN would want the issue settled domestically,
or among the contending parties in a country. "It would be difficult from
IANA's point of view to step into the country and then say who is right and
who is wrong," he told i.t. matters.

This is consistent with ICANN's best practices policy. "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," stated the IANA best practices
document.

In case the contending parties cannot agree, one possible way of resolving
the problem is for a DNS provider to be endorsed either by the government
or a "reliable Internet community," said Mr. Murai.

IANA, however, recognizes that this would be an "unhappy" situation,
according to the IANA document.

"The government can write ICANN, but the issues must be well-accepted and
well-understood by the government," he said.

"This is very good in terms of avoiding the conflict and the problem. We
prefer that government really appreciate and understand what is going on in
the Internet area so that we can avoid the problem. I sincerely hope that
in the Philippine case, the solution among yourselves would be achieved,
internally, of course. If the government plays a very strong role on this,
it's really up to you..." he added.

"If a reliable Internet community exists, the ICANN lawyer may help to
solve the problem," he continued.

Mr. Murai said ICANN is concerned with two major issues in the appointment
of a domain name registry, namely: operational stability and acceptance of
the Internet community of that country. He defined a "reliable Internet
community" as representative of consumers, services and different users
such as the banking industry and the agriculture sector.

"If the government is supporting that community, and the industry is
supporting that community and ICANN supporting that community, that is the
best one (solution)," said Mr. Murai.

On the other hand, a strong Internet community, even without the
endorsement of the government, should do so long at it is accepted by
stakeholders, he stressed.

CONCERNED

PhilDAC is still identifying a representative from the local Internet
community, said PhilDAC founding members in an email reply to i.t. matters.
Jim Ayson, founder of Philmusic.com and one of the local pioneering content
providers, said PhilDAC currently has representatives from foundations,
nongovernment organizations and consumers.

"What ties us all together despite varied backgrounds is a concern for the
Philippine Internet scene," said Mr. Ayson, who was present at the April 17
meeting with DTI and Dotph, Inc., the ccTLD registry.

"PhilDAC is more representative than Dotph ever has been and ever will be,"
said Horacio Cadiz, president of Philippine Network Foundation, Inc.
(PHNET), a non-profit foundation which has tasked by the government to
jump-start the Internet in the country in 1994. Mr. Cadiz is one of the
founding members of PhilDAC and was also present at the April 17 meeting
with DTI and Dotph.

"PISO is an ISP organization and supports the PhilDAC position, but PhilDAC
itself is not an ISP organization," clarified Mr. Cadiz. "We count consumer
advocates, Web developers, and end-users as members of the convenors group.
However, work is never done and we still have to reach out to all the other
information technology groups." "For sure ICANN will listen to a
stakeholder community," said Mr. Cadiz, who has met Mr. Murai in several
Asia-Pacific Internet meetings.

PHNET is participating in the Asia Pacific Advance Network project, of
which AI3 is a component.

Mr. Ayson said PhilDAC hopes to get itself organized soon.

GOVERNMENT STAND

Both parties would likewise want to be clarified of the Philippine
government's position on the matter. Mr. Cadiz said: "The position we want
government to take is to say the .ph ccTLD is not a resource to be
controlled and administered by a single individual or company which is
accountable only to itself. The government should state that the .ph ccTLD
is a national patrimony and that the stakeholders community is in the best
position to administer and control it in behalf of the community. The
government then should help organize that local community. After that, the
government should support that organization and have the .PH ccTLD
redelegated to that organization."

But DTI said in its April 17 statement that it is not yet clear on its
stand on the redelegation of the domain administration. BusinessWorld
Online tried to get a statement from the Dotph, Inc. administration. But
Emil AvanceŇa, Dotph spokesman, said the company would rather not comment
on the issue, as agreed in the April 17 meeting. The DTI handed down a gag
order on the issue in the media and Internet mailing lists. Mr. Disini
himself signed off from the .ph-issues mailing list over the weekend.

In a .ph Q&A document posted on the www.domains.ph Web site, Dotph, Inc.
said the .ph domain is "not a natural resource in the traditional sense nor
can the Philippine government establish any logical connection between
itself and the DNS to prove that it is a natural resource."

The .ph administration maintains that the Philippine government was not
involved in the creation of the Internet and the creation of the DNS
system. "Hence, there is no legal basis to justify ICANN's view that the
Philippine government can claim legal rights to any portion of the A-root
server, which includes the .ph domain, nor in the management thereof," the
Q&A document stated.

Mr. Disini obtained management of the .ph domain from the late Dr. Jonathan
B. Postel, founder of the IANA, in the early 1990s, long before the
Internet started in the Philippines.



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