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Fwd: .uk ccTLD and ISO 3166-1 (was: discrepancy in ISO 3166-1 country codes)

Hi, about the debate between ISO coutnry code GB and cc TLD, I contacted The
Secretariat of the ISO 3166  Maintenance Agency.

Here's their explanation about the choice that was made.

Thought you'd be interested in hearing the "official" reasons.

----- Forwarded message from CORD WISCHHOEFER <CORD.WISCHHOEFER@DIN.DE> -----

Envelope-to: eric@localhost
To: <eric@andago.com>
Subject: Internet and ISO 3166-1
X-UIDL: 56627ee472acefa0fd75384bb71aa6fe

Dear Mr van Buggenhaut,

Thanks for your query concerning the ISO 3166-1 Alpha-2 code.

In the start-up phase of the Internet IANA created a ccTLD .uk. This was done before Jon Postel  of IANA wrote RFC 1591 and decided to use our ISO codes.

More on the Internet and ISO 3166-1: http://www.din.de/gremien/nas/nabd/iso3166ma/internet.html

The reasons for the ISO 3166-1 code GB for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are the following:

In 1974 when ISO 3166-1 was first published the code element GB was chosen to represent the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland because it conicides with the "distinguishing sign for road vehicles in international traffic" for the country. These are the oval stickers on cars.

Another reason why the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is coded GB in ISO 3166-1 is that code elements in ISO 3166-1 should not reflect country name components giving information on the political status of a country e. g. "Republic", "Kingdom", "United", "Democratic", "Socialist" etc.

By not using such name components a change of the official name of a country which reflects a change in e. g.  constitutional status does not affect the code element and thus allows stability in the code list. A good example for this is Poland. This country  renamed itself from "Polish People's Republic" to "Republic of Poland" but no need for a new ISO 3166-1 code element arose since it reflected only the core part of the name i. e. "Poland" resp. "Polish" (PL).

We are well aware that many people would like to use UK rather than GB and the reasons for this choice - one being that one might be promoted to think that Northern Ireland isn't included - are familiar to us. The decision to chose GB was taken in cooperation with the Britisch Standards Institution BSI and, through them, with her Majesty's Government.

If you need more information on this issue please let me know.
Best regards

Cord Wischhöfer
for the Secretariat of the
ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency
Tel.: +49 (30) 26 01 28 61
Fax: +49 (30) 26 01 12 31
E-Mail: cord.wischhoefer@din.de
URL: www.din.de/gremien/nas/nabd/iso3166ma/

----- End forwarded message -----

Eric VAN BUGGENHAUT     "Oh My God! They killed init! You Bastards!"
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