Palau’s country code Top Level Domain Name (ccTLD), .PW, is one of the main gateway to international search engines pointing to any activities happening within the Republic of Palau or outside Palau Islands.

Under the ISO 3166-1 listing, .pw is a national resource delegated to Palau to support development of Internet for its internet community (business, individual and Government for its service delivery). As such the Government is exploring the stewardship responsibilities of how .pw ccTLD has been managed and whether it has benefited the nation and its local internet community.

Development in ICT and Internet use on Palau has evolved and matured, and now boosts connectivity of its new undersea cable. Citizens are spending more time with their devices and at the same time sharing concerns on their safety and security when surfing online.

The local internet community including users of the .pw namespace are also discussing its management and related issues encountered.

Considering a widely supported call from respective local internet communities including the Draft National ICT Policy seeking transparency of procedures and processes for administration of

.pw, the National Bureau of Communications (BoC) through the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industry and Commerce (MPIIC) invited, Mr. Save Vocea, the Vice-President of Stakeholder Engagement for Oceania from the Internet Corporation for Assign Names and Numbers (ICANN), into the country last week. On the 16th – 17th of October, 2019, Mr. Vocea presented a series of presentations on “Domain Name System (DNS) Fundamentals and Ecosystem” and open discussions were held, that set the scene for needed discussions related to management of ccTLDs. Delegates attending represented the technical community, specific Government ministries, service providers and other Internet end-user communities.

The Minister for MPIIC (Hon. Charles Obichang), Minister responsible for Telecommunications/ICT) and the World Bank funded Telecommunications Regulatory Advisor(Ms. Dalsie G. Baniala), were also presented to listen and contributed to the interactive discussions to resolute appropriate,  harmonious and workable actions going forward. The Honorable Minister approved a recommendation on the formation of a working group called “Internet Community of Palau – ICOP” to start further community consultations and provide recommendations for a way forward.

The Honorable Minister expressed the importance of participation in local and global Internet fora and to address impacts, abuse and threats around use of Internet. There are concerns around online safety and cybersecurity for internet users and this event provided some food for thought to take measurable actions that will contribute to minimize abuses and misuse of .pw online.

ICOP is being endorsed to take lead on prerogative measures focusing on making sure the international gateway to internet network must first of all bring trust, confidence and loyalty to the citizens of Palau during their internet surfing experience. In doing so, ICOP is also contributing to implement priority actions mandated by the Government of Palau through the Executive Order released on the 7th day of August, 2019, mandating a working group to review Palau’s existing national ICT Policy and to develop a national cyber-security policy. (PR)