An Advisory Committee is a formal advisory body made up of representatives from the Internet community to advise ICANN on a particular issue or policy area. Several are mandated by the ICANN Bylaws and others may be created as needed. Advisory committees have no legal authority to act for ICANN, but report their findings and make recommendations to the ICANN Board.
AfriNIC — The African Network Information Center
AfriNIC is a Regional Internet Registry (RIR), and is a non-profit membership organization responsible for the administration and registration of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in the Africa region.
ALAC — At-Large Advisory Committee
ICANN's At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) is responsible for considering and providing advice on the activities of the ICANN, as they relate to the interests of individual Internet users (the "At-Large" community). ICANN, as a private sector, non-profit corporation with technical management responsibilities for the Internet's domain name and address system, will rely on the ALAC and its supporting infrastructure to involve and represent in ICANN a broad set of individual user interests.
On 31 October 2002, the ICANN Board adopted New Bylaws that establish the ALAC and authorize its supporting At-Large organizations. (Article XI, Section 2(4) of the New Bylaws.) The New Bylaws, which are the result of ICANN's 2002 reform process, went into effect on 15 December 2002. ALAC is to eventually consist of ten members selected by Regional At-Large Organizations, supplemented by five members selected by ICANN's Nominating Committee. To allow the ALAC to begin functioning immediately, the Transition Article of the Interim Bylaws provides for the Board to appoint ten members (two from each of ICANN's five regions) to an Interim ALAC.
Underpinning the ALAC will be a network of self-organizing, self-supporting At-Large Structures throughout the world involving individual Internet users at the local or issue level. The At-Large Structures (either existing organizations or newly formed for this purpose) will self-organize into five Regional At-Large Organizations (one in each ICANN region – Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean, and North America). The Regional At-Large Organizations will manage outreach and public involvement and will be the main forum and coordination point in each region for public input to ICANN.
APNIC — The Asia Pacific Network Information Centre
APNIC is a Regional Internet Registry (RIR), and is a non-profit membership organization responsible for the administration and registration of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, Korea, China, and Australia.
ARIN — American Registry for Internet Numbers
ARIN is a Regional Internet Registry (RIR), and is a non-profit membership organization established for the purpose of the administration and registration of Internet number resources — including Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and Autonomous System Numbers — in Canada, many Caribbean and North Atlantic islands, and the United States. ARIN also develops consensus-based policies and facilitates the advancement of the Internet through information and educational outreach.
ASO — Address Supporting Organization
The ASO advises the ICANN Board of Directors on policy issues relating to the allocation and management of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. The ASO selects two Directors for the ICANN Board.
ccNSO — The Country-Code Names Supporting Organization
The ccNSO is in the process of being established, with the ccNSO Assistance Group preparing the recommendations that are currently under discussion. Upon completion, the purpose of the ccNSO is to engage and provide leadership in activities relevant to country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs). This is achieved by 1) Developing policy recommendations to the ICANN Board, 2) Nurturing consensus across the ccNSO's community, including the name-related activities of ccTLDs; and 3) Coordinating with other ICANN SO's, Committees, or constituencies under ICANN. The ccNSO selects one person to serve on the board.
ccTLD — Country Code Top Level Domain
Two letter domains, such as .uk (United Kingdom), .de (Germany) and .jp (Japan) (for example), are called country code top level domains (ccTLDs) and correspond to a country, territory, or other geographic location. The rules and policies for registering domain names in the ccTLDs vary significantly and ccTLD registries limit use of the ccTLD to citizens of the corresponding country.
Some ICANN-accredited registrars provide registration services in the ccTLDs in addition to registering names in .biz, .com, .info, .name, .net and .org, however, ICANN does not specifically accredit registrars to provide ccTLD registration services.
For more information regarding registering names in ccTLDs, including a complete database of designated ccTLDs and managers, please refer to http://www.iana.org/cctld/cctld.htm.
DNS — Domain Name System
The Domain Name System (DNS) helps users to find their way around the Internet. Every computer on the Internet has a unique address – just like a telephone number – which is a rather complicated string of numbers. It is called its "IP address" (IP stands for "Internet Protocol"). IP Addresses are hard to remember. The DNS makes using the Internet easier by allowing a familiar string of letters (the "domain name") to be used instead of the arcane IP address. So instead of typing 188.8.131.52, you can type www.internic.net. It is a "mnemonic" device that makes addresses easier to remember.
Domain Name Resolvers
Scattered across the Internet are thousands of computers – called "Domain Name Resolvers" or just plain "resolvers" – that routinely cache the information they receive from queries to the root servers. These resolvers are located strategically with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or institutional networks. They are used to respond to a user's request to resolve a domain name – that is, to find the corresponding IP address.
GAC — Governmental Advisory Committee
The GAC is an advisory committee comprising appointed representatives of national governments, multi-national governmental organizations and treaty organizations, and distinct economies. Its function is to advise the ICANN Board on matters of concern to governments. The GAC will operate as a forum for the discussion of government interests and concerns, including consumer interests. As an advisory committee, the GAC has no legal authority to act for ICANN, but will report its findings and recommendations to the ICANN Board. The Chairman of the GAC is Heather Dryden of Canada.
GNSO — Generic Names Supporting Organization
The GNSO is the successor to the responsibilities of the Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO; see below) that relate to the generic top-level domains.
The GNSO is the body of six constituencies, as follows: the Commercial and Business constituency, the gTLD Registry constituency, the ISP constituency, the non-commercial constituency, the registrar's constituency, and the IP constituency.
gTLD — Generic Top Level Domain
Most TLDs with three or more characters are referred to as "generic" TLDs, or "gTLDs". They can be subdivided into two types, "sponsored" TLDs (sTLDs) and "unsponsored TLDs (uTLDs), as described in more detail below.
In the 1980s, seven gTLDs (.com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net, and .org) were created. Domain names may be registered in three of these (.com, .net, and .org) without restriction; the other four have limited purposes.
Over the next twelve years, various discussions occurred concerning additional gTLDs, leading to the selection in November 2000 of seven new TLDs for introduction. These were introduced in 2001 and 2002. Four of the new TLDs (.biz, .info, .name, and .pro) are unsponsored. The other three new TLDs (.aero, .coop, and .museum) are sponsored.
Generally speaking, an unsponsored TLD operates under policies established by the global Internet community directly through the ICANN process, while a sponsored TLD is a specialized TLD that has a sponsor representing the narrower community that is most affected by the TLD. The sponsor thus carries out delegated policy-formulation responsibilities over many matters concerning the TLD.
A Sponsor is an organization to which is delegated some defined ongoing policy-formulation authority regarding the manner in which a particular sponsored TLD is operated. The sponsored TLD has a Charter, which defines the purpose for which the sponsored TLD has been created and will be operated. The Sponsor is responsible for developing policies on the delegated topics so that the TLD is operated for the benefit of a defined group of stakeholders, known as the Sponsored TLD Community, that are most directly interested in the operation of the TLD. The Sponsor also is responsible for selecting the registry operator and to varying degrees for establishing the roles played by registrars and their relationship with the registry operator. The Sponsor must exercise its delegated authority according to fairness standards and in a manner that is representative of the Sponsored TLD Community.
IANA — Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
The IANA is the authority originally responsible for the oversight of IP address allocation, the coordination of the assignment of protocol parameters provided for in Internet technical standards, and the management of the DNS, including the delegation of top-level domains and oversight of the root name server system. Under ICANN, the IANA continues to distribute addresses to the Regional Internet Registries, coordinate with the IETF and others to assign protocol parameters, and oversee the operation of the DNS.
ICANN — The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an internationally organized, non-profit corporation that has responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions. Originally, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and other entities performed these services under U.S. Government contract. ICANN now performs the IANA function. As a private-public partnership, ICANN is dedicated to preserving the operational stability of the Internet; to promoting competition; to achieving broad representation of global Internet communities; and to developing policy appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes. The DNS translates the domain name you type into the corresponding IP address, and connects you to your desired website. The DNS also enables email to function properly, so the email you send will reach the intended recipient.
IDNs — Internationalized Domain Names
IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet "a-z". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European "0-9". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed "ASCII characters" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of "Unicode characters" that provides the basis for IDNs.
The "hostname rule" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen "-". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS.
The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms:
A domain name consists of a series of "labels" (separated by "dots"). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an "A-label". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a "U-label". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for "test" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of "ASCII compatible encoding" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn — 11b5bs1di.
A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an "LDH label". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"icann.org" is not an IDN.
IETF — Internet Engineering Task Force
The IETF is a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. It is open to any interested individual.
IP — Internet Protocol
The communications protocol underlying the Internet, IP allows large, geographically diverse networks of computers to communicate with each other quickly and economically over a variety of physical links. An Internet Protocol Address is the numerical address by which a location in the Internet is identified. Computers on the Internet use IP addresses to route traffic and establish connections among themselves; people generally use the human-friendly names made possible by the Domain Name System.
ISOC — The Internet Society
The Internet Society is the international organization for global cooperation and coordination for the Internet and its internetworking technologies and applications. ISOC membership is open to any interested person.
ISP — Internet Service Provider
An ISP is a company, which provides access to the Internet to organizations and/or individuals. Access services provided by ISPs may include web hosting, email, VoIP (voice over IP), and support for many other applications.
LACNIC — Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry
LACNIC is a Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Operations Steering Committee
The Operations Steering Committee (OSC) coordinates, recommends and reviews changes to certain operational activities of the GNSO and its constituencies with a view to efficient outcomes. These operational activity areas cover GNSO operations, Stakeholder Group and Constituency operations, and communications with GNSO and between GNSO and other ICANN structures.
PDP — Policy Development Process
A set of formal steps, as defined in the ICANN bylaws, to guide the initiation, internal and external review, timing and approval of policies needed to coordinate the global Internet's system of unique identifiers.
Phishing attacks use both social engineering and technical subterfuge to steal consumers' personal identity data and financial account credentials. Social engineering schemes use spoofed emails to lead consumers to counterfeit websites designed to trick recipients into divulging financial data such as credit card numbers, account usernames, passwords and social security numbers.
Hijacking brand names of banks, e-retailers and credit card companies, phishers often convince recipients to respond. Technical subterfuge schemes plant crimeware onto PCs to steal credentials directly, often using Trojan keylogger spyware. Pharming crimeware misdirects users to fraudulent sites or proxy servers, typically through DNS hijacking or poisoning.
Policy Process Steering Committee
The Policy Process Steering Committee (PPSC) reviews and recommends processes used within the GNSO for developing policy, including the use of Working Groups, and recommending any changes.
Domain names ending with .aero, .biz, .com, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, .net, .org, and .pro can be registered through many different companies (known as "registrars") that compete with one another. A listing of these companies appears in the Accredited Registrar Directory.
The registrar you choose will ask you to provide various contact and technical information that makes up the registration. The registrar will then keep records of the contact information and submit the technical information to a central directory known as the "registry." This registry provides other computers on the Internet the information necessary to send you e-mail or to find your web site. You will also be required to enter a registration contract with the registrar, which sets forth the terms under which your registration is accepted and will be maintained.
The "Registry" is the authoritative, master database of all domain names registered in each Top Level Domain. The registry operator keeps the master database and also generates the "zone file" which allows computers to route Internet traffic to and from top-level domains anywhere in the world. Internet users don't interact directly with the registry operator; users can register names in TLDs including .biz, .com, .info, .net, .name, .org by using an ICANN-Accredited Registrar.
Registry Services Evaluation Process
The Registry Services Evaluation Process (RSEP) is ICANN's process for evaluating proposed gTLD registry services or contractual modifications for security, stability or competition issues. Further information on RSEP is available at http://www.icann.org/en/resources/registries/rsep/archive.
RGP — Redemption Grace Period
Problems and complaints relating to deletion of domain-name registrations are very common. Businesses and consumers are losing the rights to their domain names through registration deletions caused by mistake, inadvertence, or fraud. Current procedures for correcting these mistakes have proven inadequate. To move toward a solution to these problems ICANN developed the RGP.
How it works:
Now, the "delete" of a domain name (whether inside or outside of any applicable grace period) will result in a 30-day Deleted Name Redemption Grace Period. This grace period will allow the domain name registrant, registrar, and/or registry time to detect and correct any mistaken deletions.
During this 30-day period, the deleted name will be placed on REGISTRY-HOLD, which will cause the name to be removed from the zone. (The domain name will not function/resolve.) This feature will help ensure notice to the registrant that the name is subject to deletion at the end of the RGP, even if the contact data the registrar has for the registrant is no longer accurate.
During the Redemption Grace Period, registrants can redeem their registrations through registrars. Registrars would redeem the name in the registry for the original registrant by paying renewal fees, plus a service charge, to the registry operator. Any party requesting redemption would be required to prove its identity as the original registrant of the name.
After the 30-day period when the domain name can be redeemed, there is a 5-day period when the domain essentially is pending deletion. This timeframe is implemented to facilitate notice to all registrars before a domain is finally deleted.
RIPE and RIPE NCC — Réseaux IP Européens
RIPE is an open and voluntary organization, which consists of European Internet service providers. The RIPE NCC acts as the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Europe and surrounding areas, performs coordination activities for the organizations participating in RIPE, and allocates blocks of IP address space to its Local Internet Registries (LIRs), which then assign the addresses to end-users.
RIR — Regional Internet Registry
There are currently five RIRs: AfriNIC, APNIC, ARIN, LACNIC and RIPE NCC. These non-profit organizations are responsible for distributing and managing IP addresses on a regional level to Internet service providers and local registries.
The root servers contain the IP addresses of all the TLD registries – both the global registries such as .com, .org, etc. and the 244 country-specific registries such as .fr (France), .cn (China), etc. This is critical information. If the information is not 100% correct or if it is ambiguous, it might not be possible to locate a key registry on the Internet. In DNS parlance, the information must be unique and authentic.
SO — Supporting Organizations
The SOs are the three specialized advisory bodies that will advise the ICANN Board of Directors on issues relating to domain names (GNSO and CCNSO) and, IP addresses (ASO).
SSAC — Security and Stability Advisory Committee
The President's standing committee on the security and stability of the Internet's naming and address allocation systems. Their charter includes a focus on risk analysis and auditing. SSAC consists of approximately 20 technical experts from industry and academia as well as operators of Internet root servers, registrars, and TLD registries.
TLD — Top-level Domain
TLDs are the names at the top of the DNS naming hierarchy. They appear in domain names as the string of letters following the last (rightmost) ".", such as "net" in "www.example.net". The administrator for a TLD controls what second-level names are recognized in that TLD. The administrators of the "root domain" or "root zone" control what TLDs are recognized by the DNS. Commonly used TLDs include .com, .net, .edu, .jp, .de, etc.
UDRP — Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy
All ICANN-accredited registrars follow a uniform dispute resolution policy. Under that policy, disputes over entitlement to a domain-name registration are ordinarily resolved by court litigation between the parties claiming rights to the registration. Once the courts rule who is entitled to the registration, the registrar will implement that ruling. In disputes arising from registrations allegedly made abusively (such as "cybersquatting" and cyberpiracy"), the uniform policy provides an expedited administrative procedure to allow the dispute to be resolved without the cost and delays often encountered in court litigation. In these cases, you can invoke the administrative procedure by filing a complaint with one of the dispute-resolution service providers.
W3C — World Wide Web Consortium
The W3C is an international industry consortium founded in October 1994 to develop common protocols that promote the evolution of the World Wide Web and ensure its interoperability. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users; reference code implementations to embody and promote standards; and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology.
WHOIS (pronounced "who is"; not an acronym) An Internet protocol that is used to query databases to obtain information about the registration of a domain name (or IP address). The WHOIS protocol was originally specified in RFC 954, published in 1985. The current specification is documented in RFC 3912. ICANN's gTLD agreements require registries and registrars to offer an interactive web page and a port 43 WHOIS service providing free public access to data on registered names. Such data is commonly referred to as "WHOIS data," and includes elements such as the domain registration creation and expiration dates, nameservers, and contact information for the registrant and designated administrative and technical contacts.
WHOIS services are typically used to identify domain holders for business purposes and to identify parties who are able to correct technical problems associated with the registered domain.
WIPO — World Intellectual Property Organization
WIPO is an intergovernmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland responsible for the promotion of the protection of intellectual rights throughout the world. It is one of the 16 specialized agencies of the United Nations system of organizations.