Submission of NB of Ireland regarding ISO 3166/MA

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Mon Sep 29 2003 - 10:46:34 EDT

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    FYI from NSAI to the 3166 Maintenance Agency and to TC46 Secretariat.

    Ireland does not support the recent decision of the ISO 3166
    Maintenance Agency, reassiging "CS" (formerly Czechoslovakia) to
    Serbia and Montenegro. It is believed that this will cause
    non-trivial problems for data integrity and identification. Country
    codes are a basic element in modern computing: all major operating
    systems, business applications, identification systems, security
    systems, postal services, and the internet domain-name structure all
    make use of these codes. The Maintenance Agency must guarantee
    stability to all user groups associated with these applications.
    While the rules state that a code can be reassigned after five years,
    this is considered quite unrealistic in a modern environment, where
    the data will be with us for decades.

    Ireland requests that the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency take the
    following actions:

    1. Immediately rescind the re-assignment of the code "CS" to Serbia
    and Montenegro and assign a new code to Serbia and Montenegro. We
    note that SQ, SS, SW, SX, CB, CE, CJ, CQ, and CT, as well as MB, ME,
    MF, MI, and MJ are available. But indeed any string other than CS
    will be suitable.

    2. Immediately change the policy to allow the re-use of codes only
    after a significant period of time. We suggest 100 years.

    Michael Everson
    Convener, NSAI/ICTSCC/SC4

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