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Building the Technical Internet Community in the Middle East

19 September 2014
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Attendees and Keynote Speakers during the DNSSEC Workshop in Amman, Jordan

On September 8-11, ICANN held a Doman Name System Security Extension (DNSSEC) workshop in Amman, Jordan together with the Jordanian-based professional services group, TAG-Org. The workshop attracted 29 attendees from eight countries (Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Yemen, and India) from a range of interests including: Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs), International Domain Names (IDN), ICANN Accredited Registrars, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Internet Security Departments. Over the four-day long workshop, we covered the theory and deployment of the DNS Infrastructure and conducted interactive exercises.

The genesis of this workshop resides with ICANN's strategy to address the needs of the Internet community in the Middle East and Adjoining Countries.1 The primary goal of this strategy is "Building a Strong and Competitive Domain Name Industry in the Region". The Middle East Strategy Working Group (MESWG) later identified "DNS Security and Stability" as a key area of focus, which is in line with ICANN's mandate of a "Secure, Stable, and Resilient Domain Name System".

However, DNSSEC deployment in the region remains challenged.  For example, .lb; the ccTLD for Lebanon, is by far the only ccTLD in the region that has undertaken any in-production efforts towards deploying DNSSEC. And due to the low intake of DNSSEC deployment in our region overall, DNSSEC capacity building is a recurring item in our Middle East Strategy.

This workshop is just one of the steps taken to address this issue. ICANN's Dr. Richard Lamb and Mr. Tomofumi Okubo, and Mr. Samer Khalil from the American University of Beirut (AUB) were on hand to guide this important workshop and were impressed with the quality of the students, many of whom had solid DNS operations background. These students not only learned about DNSSEC, they also had the opportunity to network and learn from one another's experience in deploying DNSSEC on their respective test-beds.

We concluded this session with a visit to the Jordanian National IT Center (NITC), which runs Jordan's ccTLD and IDN ccTLD; .jo and.الاردن. NITC is also the sole ISP and hosting provider for the Jordanian government, and the host of Jordan's e-government operations. During the visit, attendees had the chance to speak with NITC senior management and tour its state-of-the-art data center.

Our workshop in Jordan was not only a positive experience for those who attended but we hope it serves as a building-block for more DNSSEC deployment in the region.


1 The Middle East Strategy covers the 22 Arab States, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Authors

Fahd Batayneh

Fahd Batayneh

Stakeholder Engagement Director - Middle East