New Zealand’s internet governing body has appointed its first domain name commissioner.
When Debbie Monahan takes up her duties in mid-May the country will, for the first time, “have a person solely focused on the internet and making it work in New Zealand”, says InternetNZ vice-president Rick Shera.
The role of a commissioner was seen to be necessary in the first working papers on the evolution of a shared registry system (SRS). Such a system, involving multiple registrars of domain names working with the central registry and with their own customers, is dependent on a large number of separate contracts and needs someone to “oversee the operation, structure and governance of the SRS, and make sure it all works smoothly”, Shera says.
Originally, this putative function was referred to as the "ccTLD (country-code top-level domain) office", but this was thought an unwieldy and technical-sounding title, so InternetNZ settled on domain name commissioner. Monahan's first duty will be to oversee the evolution of the SRS, scheduled to be complete by the end of this year.
Monahan has considerable experience with registries, having been the national manager responsible for the development and implementation of the Personal Property Securities Register. She has also been acting national manager of all business registries for the Ministry of Economic Development, and the Assistant Commissioner of Patents, Trade Marks and Designs.
Shera sees the post being a pro-active one; Monahan will be visiting registry and registrars and the holders of internet domain names and bodies representing them, in order to pick up and handle any concerns.
As the commissioner title might suggest, one of her functions will be to handle complaints that the system is not functioning as well as it should, and the post will also become the focus for domain-name ownership disputes. Whether a formal process will be set up for either is a matter for Monahan herself to decide, Shera says.