Monday, October 31, 2011

.FK ccTLD: The next Falklands(Islas Malvinas) war will be fought at ICANN

Argentinian internet representatives want ICANN to cancel the .FK ccTLD for the Islas Malvinas otherwise known as the Falkland Islands since they consider it not an independent territory but a part of Argentina. Argentina and Britain fought the Falklands War (which Argentina lost) in 1982 after the Argentinian military Junta occupied the Islands claiming it as part of Argentine territory.

Argentina considers the British "occupation" of the Falkland Islands as the "last colonial dagger in America" and has used every trick in the book to try and regain sovereignty over the Islands but Britain insists matters of sovereignty will have to be decided by the Islanders; something not likely to happen as the Islanders are almost entirely British, and very proud ones at that. This is one of the intractable disputes in the world that will outlive us.

Back to domains, Argentinian representatives think ICANN made a "definition" of the Island as a territory by delegating the .FK ccTLD  while ICANN insists it simply relied on the ISO 3166 list when delegating the ccTLD as stipulated by the farsighted Jon Postel. It will be interesting watching how this discussion unfolds especially as some interesting documents regarding this issue are yet to be published. Here's the exchange at ICANN meeting:

SERGIO SALINAS PORTO: I’m going to speak in Spanish. To members of the ICANN board, good afternoon. My name is Sergio Salinas Porto. I am the president of the Argentine Internet Society
of Users. And I participate in LAC-RALO, and I am ALAC member in our region.

Aside from all of this, I am going to talk like an Argentinian user who is happy to be participating in this ICANN meeting and in this multistakeholder proposal implemented. So that we can all participate.

And I’m going to talk about the Malvinas Islands. You all know that the Malvinas Islands is an issue that is very related to Argentinians. And we have identified In the study of geographic regions, that at some point the Malvinas Islands were marked as a territorial state.

And the position that the Argentine government has had, as well as the countries in the Latin America and Caribbean — and that position is that the Malvinas Islands are not a state and not a territory, but
rather they belong to the national territory of the Argentine Republic.

But I want to explain that I am not here to say that ICANN has to make a political decision on political policies. Precisely what I want to say is that ICANN should not take part or should not get involved in this. Because, when ICANN speaks about territories, when ccTLDs are created, when regions are assigned for certain ccTLDs or when services are given to an Internet service, the RIRs, these imply stake in their position. Especially when it is said that Malvinas or the Falkland
Islands are a territory. When a dot FK is created or when LACNIC or something is created, this is taking the position of the Internet community, even though the Internet community does not decide to take this position.

We are asking two things, only two. First, that, when ICANN documents are released, when they’re released in Spanish, that the word “Malvinas” is used when referring to the Malvinas and then the
Falkland Islands. And, when the English documents are released, that you first mention Falkland Islands and Malvinas in brackets as nation states in their resolution 3160.28.

And we also ask that there be a revision on this issue and there be a revision by the legal team so that we do not incur in the mistake of having to make a definition in this issue.
Thank you very much. That’s all.

ROD BECKSTROM: Thank you very much for your very clear and strong intervention.
And, as you know, we use a list of the ISO 3000 — ISO 3160.
Thank you very much for the history lesson and the territorial lesson that you gave us.

SERGIO SALINAS PORTO: There is only one suggestion. It would be — I know — I don’t want to say what ICANN has to do. But I think we are mature to make our own country lists. I think ICANN is mature enough to do it. Thank you very much.

STEVE CROCKER: As you heard, we use the ISO 3166 list. That was a very, very smart move, very wise move laid down by Jon Postel long before we were formed. Served us well. There are, of course,
controversies. One of the things you try to do in a situation like this is not take on all possible controversies. So it served us well, and that’s what we do.

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