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Public Comments on the "Consultation Paper on the Review on Administration and Assignment of Internet Domain Names and Internet Protocol Addresses in Hong Kong"


Response to the Consultation Paper on the Review of Administration and Assignment of Internet Domain Names and Internet Protocol Addresses in Hong Kong.

Respondent: Mr Callan G Anderson

Background: Callan Anderson presently resides in Hong after transferring his breadth of Ecommerce Experience to the SAR. Previously Callan worked for the British Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom, and was adviser to both the Scottish Parliament, Enterprise Commission and Royal Bank of Scotland in the development of an Ecommerce strategy.

Date 8th June, 2000

I felt that as I had very strong views on the paper presented, that I should make a few comments known in relation to where Hong Kong wants to be in terms of a 'Cyber Port' and how the paper addresses those desires in relation to Domain Name Policy.

The present naming authority should be commended in administering and developing a system that allows for the registration of domain names in Hong Kong. The diversification of how the internet effects business and individuals on a global scale can not be underestimated, and should be defined in much broader terms than the paper indicates. Many of the issues raised within the document pertain to the business community and only mentions in brief the potential for individuals to register their own name.

Although Hong Kong has aims to be at the pinnacle of Ecommerce, it is not the pure corporate usage that generates both an ecommerce ready SAR or registration on a "need basis". The use of domains should have a much wider scope than those indicated in the paper.

Much of my previous work involved advising individuals (members of the public) in how they may develop online business or small ecommerce ventures out with their normal work. Registering a domain name in the UK and USA is one of the most simple processes in the ecommerce development process, where concerns whether a domain matches a company are unimportant, as it should be. (unless breaking registered trade marks).

Individual people should have as much 'right' and 'usage' of a domain name as anyone else in the community, and not only to their family HKID card name alone (the ramifications of people with the same names or businesses already using private family names to trade under and then wanting to register for a domain are indication enough about how difficult such a system would be to control).

The purchase of a Domain by an individual under a business idea they hold is the perfect introduction and enabler for an individual to start a small business or toe dip the global market place. The prevention of general public adoption of domain names, other than their own name, will devalue the use of the extension in favour of other country extensions. Time would then eventually lead to the non-use of the extension by Hong Kong companies who would be aware that consumers are only really aware of the top-level org, com and net extension.

The argument could well be placed that if someone wants a domain name who is an individual, they can register with Internic in the USA for a top level domain com, org, net. As these names are open to a global market under American 'State' Laws, there are numerous reasons why it is both difficult to find the name you would want, as well as understand the limitations that such a top level domain may hold if you were to infringe the trade mark laws or hold your servers in the USA in relation to where a business or individual is actually taxed.

As a Hong Kong resident, I would much prefer my personal or business website to be recognised as from Hong Kong ( rather than a non-descript or other country extension. The Task Force have to balance between commercial and private usage correctly so that the best web sites or ecommerce, be that private or commercial can be clearly defined as a site, and not some faceless entity or even worse, as being aligned in another country when it is not.

The issue of cyber squatting is of course a major issue internationally, and a registration process that has a requirement for the user to prove his company resembles the domain they applying for does negate much of this problem, as would prevent the registration of names that are already trademarks. To be an Ecommerce Hub, Hong Kong needs to be more flexible and be more open in the use of the name past corporate demand.

There are legal issues surrounding who has the right to a name, and not something I believe any naming authority should become involved in. No matter if HKNIC prevents the use of a name, there are plenty of other ways in which a determined user can obtain a name that appears to be from Hong Kong (e.g. and other derivatives. Therefore I suggest the cybersquatting issue is a red herring in the bigger picture.

A quote I read from your paper says, "the rationale being that a domain name is primarily intended to provide clear and convenient Internet address to facilitate access to the web of a concerned company". I would argue strongly against placing as much emphasis on the corporate angle as you are.

The real definition of a domain address is to make it as easy as possible to locate the web site of a particular company, individual or institution instead of utilsing the numeric IP address as the only method of accessing pages of information or research.


The restriction preventing bodies outside Hong Kong being granted a domain name is too restrictive as your paper indicates, and should be opened up to a global purchase. Hence the reason why the demand for names will certainly be greater than the size of population in Hong Kong. The comparison to the UK is valid, but again emphasise that it is not restricted to corporate use only, and as such allows individuals with a business idea time to develop before making a full-blown business online.

A prime example being myself who holds 7 domains names globally for private use and makes good use of each one of them.

I commend the paper on the basis that what is presently available through HKNIC does not fulfill the present and future need for domain names in Hong Kong. I would however urge that restrictions on who owns a name (be that individual or corporate) be lifted, and Hong Kong truly opens itself to both the potential reward, and issues that surround true Internet adoption. The Internet momentum moves so fast, that whatever paper is adopted must consider long term issues, not just the minor issues of today.

Part of that adoption relates to how well the domain name situation is handled, as failure will lead Hong Kong business and public to create and develop their own extensions to which the SAR will have very little control over. That is the pitfall and benefit the Internet offers.

Callan G Anderson