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[infowar.de] Ost-Timor bekommt .tp zurück
Diese Domain war vor einigen Jahren von den dortigen Befreiungskämpfern
registriert worden und wurde dann nach heftigen Cyberattacken aus
Irish Eyes Smile on Dot-TP
By Stewart Taggart
2:00 a.m. March 8, 2002 PST
DILI, East Timor -- When tiny, battered, low-teledensity East Timor
officially achieves independence May 20, Dublin Internet service
provider manager Martin Maguire will merit a footnote in the country's
"It's been a long journey," Maguire says. "I'm just glad I could
In 1997, as East Timorese pro-independence guerillas harassed
Indonesia's occupying military forces on the tiny Pacific half-island
for a fruitless 22nd year, the Dublin-based Maguire tried a different
He declared East Timor independent -? in cyberspace.
Referring to a musty United Nations list from which the Internet's
two-letter country codes were assigned, Maguire noticed East Timor had
its own two-letter designator: tp.
That dated back to when East Timor was an overseas possession of
Portugal, which it was until 1974. While unusual, the listing wasn't
unheard of. A number of one-time colonial outposts, and even uninhabited
islands, also have country codes to go with top-level domains. This was
primarily due to quirky factors such as the presence of weather stations
or scientific instruments on their territory.
In compiling and maintaining the list, the United Nations and,
subsequently, the International Organization for Standardization, made
clear they didn't intend the list to necessarily delineate
U.N.-supported political boundaries. But when Internet country codes
began being assigned from it, such extrapolations became unavoidable.
After conferring with members of East Timor's resistance movement,
Maguire in 1997 applied for East Timor (dot-tp) to be set apart from
military occupier Indonesia (dot-id) -- on the Net, at least. And in a
further symbolic poke at Indonesia, which had invaded and annexed East
Timor in 1975 after the Portuguese pulled out the year before, Maguire
registered East Timor's independence leader Xanana Gusmao as the
country's top-level Internet domain manager.
At the time, Gusmao was under house arrest and had no access to a
computer. Maguire listed Gusmao's contact address as that of his
jailers, East Timor Indonesian military commanders.
Maguire's act was obviously symbolic -- particularly in a place with
only about 8,000 telephone lines for 800,000 people, virtually no
computers, and greater than 50 percent illiteracy in the general
But dot-tp did provide a platform for raising East Timor's political
profile internationally, mostly through the website www.freedom.tp. The
site provided a resource of media and background material to tell the
wider world of what was going on in the Connecticut-sized half island
located between Australia, Papua-New Guinea and Indonesia itself.
In early 1999, the dot-tp domain came under sustained cyber attack,
causing Maguire's ISP, Connect Ireland, to temporarily disconnect
Maguire suspects Indonesian military-linked hackers in the attacks.
But others doubt Indonesia had the sophistication to mount such an
attack ?- and believe it more likely came from apolitical hackers
seeking an easy strike. To this day, no one really knows.
After the 32-year rule of Indonesian strongman Suharto ended in 1998,
caretaker Indonesian president B.J. Habibie decided he wanted to be rid
of the political thorn of East Timor, announcing an independence
referendum for August 1999. The decision led to political mayhem in East
Timor, as pro-Jakarta militias attempted to intimidate voters.
Nonetheless, East Timorese voted by a 4-to-1 ratio for independence,
leading infuriated militias to burn much of the country to the ground.
Now, after more than two years of United Nations administration, East
Timor will become the world's newest nation on May 20 in a ceremony held
in the capital, Dili. At that point, Maguire says he'll be happy to hand
over East Timor's cyberspace national flag ?- represented by management
of its country code.
But the reality is, it could take some time. East Timor's economy is
in ruins, and it has almost no skilled workers.
Subsistence fishing, subsistence farming and international aid are its
only sources of income; East Timor's total economy has been estimated at
about $400 million. With a per capita income of roughly $300 per year,
East Timor now ranks among the poorest countries in the world.
However, Maguire believes East Timor could have an ace up its sleeve.
Just as Tuvalu's dot-tv can be construed as "television," and Moldova's
dot-md can be construed as "medical doctor," Maguire believes East
Timor's dot-tp could become a income earner through its meaning of
Maguire believes a universal, worldwide directory of everyone on Earth
might be compiled through a system such as "firstname.lastname.tp," or
"phonenumber.tp" in which they could keep updated contact details about
themselves for the world to see.
So far, Maguire has had little contact with members of East Timor's
new government. And indeed, some members of the new government are keen
to change dot-tp anyway.
Given that dot-tp means "Timor Portuguese," they believe it denotes a
colonial legacy. Ideally, they were hoping for dot-et, for "East Timor,"
but Ethiopia already has that one.
Thus, one idea is to change dot-tp to dot-tl," for "Timor Leste,"
which means "East Timor" in Portuguese, the official national language,
says Pedro Braga, the U.N. transitional government's telecommunications
But Braga says such a change will take awhile. Braga says his first
priority is to award a $15 million tender for reconstruction of the
national telecommunications system, which he hopes to do by independence
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