New Internet Domain Reservations: There Can Only Be One – Or Not? 09/11/2015 by Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), standardisation body for the internet protocol and related specifications, is concerned about stepping on the toes of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) with a potentially growing number of requests for new top-level domain (TLD) reservations arriving at its doorstep. The recent reservation of a special name space .onion for the Tor anonymization network resulted in a big debate at last week’s meeting of the IETF Domain Name Operations Working Group (DNSOP WG) in Yokohama, Japan. The debate was over how to preserve clear boundaries between DNS politics and the IETF technical standardisation. A draft problem statement is available here. The .onion TLD will not work as a classical TLD like .org or .ch and it is not in the official DNS root zone, managed by ICANN. Rather it is used to find Tor servers, using special software for name resolution. The IETF decided to grant the .onion reservation to the Tor community based on an exemption described in a 2013 standard (RFC 6761), which itself relies on a memorandum of understanding between the two organisations (RFC 2860). The 15-year-old RFC allows the IETF to assign domain names for technical as well as experimental uses outside of the ICANN process. While there had been allocations in the past, like reservations of .local or .localhost for network internal instead of global name resolution, with the grant of the .onion request a list of additional special name space requests arrived at the IETF doorstep. One example is for a .bit TLD to support the Namecoin cryptocurrency system. Now there is a concern that the IETF might see many more applications and be drawn into policy issues over it, not the least through applications that might want to sidestep the expensive ICANN process. ICANN, which is currently in the process of discussing the opening of a second round of TLD applications, has a heavy and costly process to evaluate applications, said Alain Durand, one of a growing group of technologists hired by ICANN recently, during the discussion in Yokohama. “The IETF does not have such a process,” he said. Durand, Peter Koch from Denic, Joe Abley from Dyn and Ralf Droms from Cisco, now are tasked to design for more clarity, or rather for how to preserve the “there can only be one”-principle in the domain name system hierarchical tree. But there are also voices that want the IETF to keep a handle to allow for experimental or potentially technically necessary special domain zones. After all, ICANN itself wanted the technical community to step up to the plate when it came to potential name collisions between applied-for domains that somehow had been used in the networks for years. Image Credits: IETF Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Monika Ermert may be reached at email@example.com."New Internet Domain Reservations: There Can Only Be One – Or Not?" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.