A couple of days ago, at the ICANN conference in Dakar, a rumour flew around that there had been an application for redelegation of the .FK domain (Falkland Islands). And that the originator of the request was from, you guessed it, somewhere in Argentina. A quiet word with an official source within the ICANN community then confirmed that, indeed, there had been “some sort of communication along those lines”.
Historically, unlike UN or other international bodies, ICANN has been pleasantly free of the tired old arguments and flashpoints that bedevil relations between nations. Neither the Gibraltar issue, the Cyprus division nor the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have ever featured in the meetings of country-code administrators Over in the gTLD world, two of the key players who have worked well together for years – well, one is from Argentina, and the other is from the UK.
There was a hint in the ICANN public forum as to where the sensitivities might lie. It may simply be a matter of a dispute over the name of the territory when ICANN produces documents.
The unfortunate thing is that the label (in this case the country or territory name) often implies much more than the content (delineating a political entity or geographic area).
For many years between 1945 – 1989, Germans born in Königsberg, Memel or Danzig would not have been allowed to visit their birthplace unless their passports were issued to show the Russian, Lithuanian or Polish name. There are many other examples. “Derry/Londonderry”, for example.
These things are all shibboleths.
In his response to Sergui in the Public Forum, Rod Beckstrom’s courtly Spanish although accented, seems extremely fluent, eloquent, and stunningly impressive.
But Sergio is misguided if he thinks ICANN should make its own lists. That way lies chaos. ICANN is not mature enough, nor capable of diplomatically squaring these circles.
And it’s unreasonable to expect ICANN to do this task, since the best minds in the FCO, State Dept, and Foreign Ministries around the world struggle with these issues.
Steve Crocker is right of course.
Then I again, you would expect me to say that, because he is agreeing with me!
In the end, all that is really required is mutual tolerance, courtesy and a determination to work together in the multi-stakeholder model. And that I believe we have in spades in this unique organisation.
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
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
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
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
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 (says Sergio). 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.
NIGEL ROBERTS: Nigel Roberts, ccTLD manager for the Channel Islands.
In light of the eloquent response in Spanish by the CEO to the
previous question relating to the Falkland Islands, in the wise words
of Jon Postel, would the board agree with me that ICANN should not be
in the business of deciding what is and is not a country?
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.