DATE: May 16, 2002

SUBJECT: Federal Management Regulation (FMR); Internet GOV Domain

SOURCE: Federal Register, May 16, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 95, page 34890

AGENCIES: Office of Governmentwide Policy, General Services Administration (GSA)

ACTION: Proposed Rule

SYNOPSIS: GSA is proposing to add FMR Part 102-173, Internet GOV Domain, to provide a new policy for registration of Internet domain names ending in ".gov" (dot-gov), which is currently reserved for use by the federal government.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The FMR is Chapter 102 of Title 41 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The FMR is available at http://policyworks.gov/org/main/mv/fmr/index.htm.

DATES: Comments must be submitted no later than July 15, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be submitted to Rodney Lantier, Regulatory Secretariat (MVP), Office of Governmentwide Policy, General Services Administration, 1800 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20405. Address e-mail comments to: RIN.3090-AH41@gsa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marion Royal, Office of Governmentwide Policy (ME), 202-208-4643, e-mail: marion.royal@gsa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: Jurisdiction of the .gov domain was delegated to GSA in 1997. Since then federal organizations have been choosing .gov domain names to reflect the type of service being rendered, and are collaborating to form portals that cross boundaries of agencies, departments, and other U.S. government entities.

There is increasing interest from non-federal U.S. government entities, such as state and local governments, and federally recognized Indian tribes (known as "Native Sovereign Nations" (NSNs)), to provide service within the .gov domain. Many such governmental entities believe that their citizens would associate their government at all levels with the .gov domain, and want the additional option of positioning their governmental portal to the public within this space. GSA is proposing to add a new FMR Part 102-173 which would make available the .gov domain available to state and local governments and NSNs, and is seeking comments on any aspect of the proposed rule, but particularly on the eight questions listed below. (EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier regulation was in Federal Property Management Regulation (FPMR) 41 CFR Subpart 101-35.7, Network Address Registration. It expired on August 8, 2001.)

FMR Part 102-173, Internet GOV Domain, would consist of the following sections:

Subpart A -- General

     102-173.5What is Internet GOV Domain?
     102-173.10What is the authority or jurisdiction of the Internet GOV Domain?
     102-173.15What is the scope of this part?
     102-173.20To whom does this part apply?
     102-173.25What definitions apply to this part?

Subpart B -- Registration

     102-173.30Who may register in the dot-gov domain?
     102-173.35Who authorizes domain names?
     102-173.40Who is my Chief Information Officer (CIO)?
     102-173.45Is there a registration charge for domain names?
     102-173.50What is the naming convention for States?
     102-173.55What is the naming convention for Cities and Townships?
     102-173.60What is the naming convention for Counties or Parishes?
     102-173.65What is the naming convention for Native Sovereign Nations?
     102-173.70Where do I register my dot-gov domain name?
     102-173.75How long does the process take?
     102-173.80How will I know if my request is approved?
     102-173.85How long will my application be held, waiting for my CIO approval?

The following are the eight questions GSA would like comments on (though comments do not have to be limited to these eight questions the public is invited to comment on any aspect of the proposed rule):

  1. Should the .gov domain be expanded to include non-federal government entities? What are the benefits to the American public of including all levels of government (federal, state, local and NSNs) within one top-level domain? Would there be any disadvantages to such an approach?

  2. Proposed FMR 102-173.35, Who authorizes domain names?, provides that second-level domain registrations in the .gov domain (the part before the ".gov") must be authorized by a high-ranking official within the federal, state, and local governments, and NSN registrations must be authorized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Proposed FMR 102-173.40, Who is my Chief Information Officer (CIO)?, provides guidance on the type of official within each level of government whose authorization GSA will recognize. Are the listed officials the appropriate officials within these governmental entities to provide the authorization for registration? If not, provide alternative suggestions for authorizing officials. What kind of information should authorizing officials be required to provide GSA to authenticate the requested second-level domain registration in .gov? Would it be helpful to provide additional guidance in the final rule with respect to the kind of information authorizing officials will be expected to provide GSA?

  3. In the past, GSA has reserved the right to charge fees for registration services in or to recover the cost of operating the .gov domain. In proposed FMR 102-173.45, Is there a registration charge for domain names?, GSA proposes to charge a one-time set-up fee for new registrations of between $250 to $1000, depending on the level of assistance that may be provided by GSA, and a recurring annual charge of between $100 to $500 for all .gov domains. The fees are based on anticipated costs for operating the registration service and are consistent with industry charges. Provide any comments on whether a one-time set-up fee and an annual recurring charge is the appropriate mechanism for recovering GSA's costs and the proposed range of fees.

  4. Proposed FMR 102-173.50, What is the naming convention for States?, FMR 102-173.55, What is the naming convention for Cities and Townships?, and FMR 102-173.60, What is the naming convention for Counties or Parishes?, provide mandatory naming conventions for states, cities and townships, and counties or parishes, respectively. These naming conventions are intended to make sure that the American public can readily identify the governmental entity associated with the second-level domain and to minimize potential conflicts between the various levels of government and between local governments with the same name. States would be encouraged to make third-level domain names available to state departments and programs and local governments. In turn, local governments (cities, townships, and counties) would be encouraged to register under a state's second-level domain to the extent such an option is available.

    Is the requirement that states must include either the full state name or its postal code the appropriate naming convention for a state? Are there alternative naming conventions for states that would achieve the twin goals of easy public identification and reduced conflicts? Are there other naming conventions for cities or townships with the same name as each other or a county or parish within their state than the ones proposed that would minimize conflicts?

  5. In proposed FMR 102-173.65, What is the naming convention for Native Sovereign Nations? GSA mandates a naming convention for NSNs that would require the second-level domain be in the form of the registering NSN name followed by a suffix of "-NSN.gov". Inclusion of ``NSN'' within the second-level domain is consistent with the current naming convention for NSNs with the .us domain and is readily recognized by the public. Is this an appropriate naming convention for NSNs or is there an alternative naming convention that would better meet the needs of the NSNs?

  6. In proposed FMR 102-173.35, Who authorizes domain names?, GSA makes it clear that in most cases it will not make determinations on the appropriateness of selected names, but will reserve the right not to assign names on a case-by-case basis. Is this sufficient to allow GSA to resolve any disputes that may arise between registrants? Do the proposed mandatory naming conventions eliminate the need for any additional dispute resolution mechanism? If not, what kind of dispute resolution mechanism should be implemented?

  7. Proposed FMR 102-173.70, Where do I register my dot-gov domain name?, FMR 102-173.75, How long does the process take?, FMR 102-173.80, How will I know if my request is approved?, and FMR 102-173.85, How long will my application be held, waiting for my CIO approval?, provide information about the system by which registrations will be processed. Are there ways in which the process can be improved or streamlined? Is 60 days sufficient time for most governmental entities to obtain authorization from the appropriate officials?

  8. Proposed FMR Section 102-173.30, Who may register in the dot-gov domain?, authorizes registration of .gov domains to local governments. How should a local government be defined? Should it only include cities, towns, counties, and parishes, or should it extend to organizations such as water districts, etc.? What should GSA use as a reference for local governments?

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Panoptic Enterprises at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to Panoptic@FedGovContracts.com.

Copyright 2002 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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