We refer to Member of Parliament and Chairman of the COPE Charitha Herath’s recent statement implying that the LK Domain Registry transferred from the Moratuwa University to a private company, as a result of some surreptitious move made by some individuals for personal gain.
We would like to categorically state that this entity is not a private company nor a state owned enterprise. It is a company limited by guarantee, most often known as a not-for-profit organisation.
We enclose a concise profile of LK Domain Registry which will give you a clear understanding of its origins and how it functions.
LK Domain Registry Profile
Domain Name registrations for .com etc. were originally carried out by the ARPANET Network Information Center (NIC), established by the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Department of Defence. Country code domains were assigned by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, IANA in the US, to persons involved in the Internet of each country. Accordingly, the .LK domain was first assigned in 1990 to Dr. Gihan Dias, who was then in California, USA and operated the domain from there. He initially held the position of Domain Registrar of the .LK Domain Registry and later became its CEO.
Dr. Dias assumed duties at the University of Moratuwa in 1992, as a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science and Engineering. As a member of the academic staff, he personally handled the LK Domain Registry, with the support of the Department of Computer Science & Engineering of the University.
However, as the Internet began to grow in Sri Lanka and across the world, Dr. Dias requested the Computer and Information Technology Council (CINTEC) to assume policy and financial responsibilities for the .LK Domain. This was in 1996, and operational activities continued to be handled by Dr. Dias, from the Computer Science & Engineering Department of Moratuwa University. The University was paid a fee in lieu of the facilities used by the Registry.
In October 2001, the Internet Committee of CINTEC submitted a proposal to set up an independent body to administer .LK, while assuring that they would continue to set policy, in line with international practices. This was to be short lived because CINTEC closed down after the passing of the ICT Agency (ICTA) act in mid-2003. The newly formed ICTA declined to take over the responsibilities of CINTEC in registering Internet domain names, and recommended that an independent body, with representation from ICTA, TRC and other relevant stakeholders, be formed to carry out domain registrations in .LK.
This resulted in the incorporation of LK Domain Registry as a Company Limited by Guarantee on 5th March 2004. Since there was no immediate need for separate business premises, the University of Moratuwa continued facilitating the operations of the Registry, with permission granted by its Vice Chancellor.
Therefore, the registered address of the LK Domain Registry continued as the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Moratuwa, on a temporary basis.
However, in 2010, the University of Moratuwa needed the space occupied by the Registry for other activities and requested that the Registry move out of their premises. On 11th January 2011, the Registry moved into new business premises and has been operating outside the university since.
For purposes of transparency and good governance, and the need for government to be involved in internet policy, the Board of Management of the LK Domain Registry has always included:
- A member nominated by the University of Moratuwa
- A member nominated by the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), and
- A member nominated by the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRC).
In addition, there are nominees from the Internet Society, Sri Lanka Chapter and the Licensed Internet Providers’ Association. Other persons of high repute, with thorough knowledge of the internet and who are active Internet users, are also selected to the Board. None of the Board members or the Chairman are paid any remuneration and are only paid an honorarium for board meetings. As a company limited by guarantee, no profits are paid to shareholders, and any surplus funds are used for the development of the Internet.
The LK Domain Registry continues to provide an efficient and reliable domain registration service, which is its primary function. At the same time, the registry supports Internet development, and works towards the overall improvement of the Internet in Sri Lanka.
Corporate Social Responsibility
The Registry has contributed to building a society that is technology savvy, able to use tools to increase productivity, and encouraged the future generation to be innovators who would become positive contributors to society. The company has initiated a number of corporate social responsibility projects such as ‘Hithawathi’ and BestWeb.lk, which help to build responsible digital citizens. Training & awareness programs on the advantages and the proper use of the internet are conducted directly by the Registry as well as in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and other organisations.
The LK Domain Registry will continue to ensure that domain registrations are conducted in a professional manner. We will develop the internet, capturing new industry trends, and facilitating its effective use by our citizens.