ICANN has formally adopted a policy that would enable it to remove ccTLDs from the DNS root when their associated countries cease to exist, raising the possibility of the Soviet Union’s .su being deleted.
Last Thursday at ICANN 75 in Kuala Lumpur, the board of directors rubber-stamped the ccNSO Retirement of ccTLDs Policy, which sets out how ccTLDs can be deleted in an orderly fashion over the course of several years.
The policy calls for ICANN and the ccTLD registry to form a “Retirement Plan” when the ccTLD’s string is removed from the ISO 3166-1 Alpha-2 standard, which defines which two-letter strings are reserved for which countries.
Strings are typically removed from this list when a country changes its name (such as Timor-Leste) or breaks up into smaller countries (such as the Netherlands Antilles).
The Retirement Plan would see the ccTLD removed from the root five years after ISO made the change, though this could be extended if the registry asks and ICANN agrees.
In February, I set out the case for why the policy may allow ICANN to retire .su, the thriving ccTLD for the Soviet Union, three decades after that nation was dismantled.