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Identifier Technology Health Indicators (ITHI) Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS ITHI?

ITHI stands for Identifier Technologies Health Indicators, a new initiative run by the ICANN Office of the CTO (OCTO) to develop metrics to quantify and measure the state of the unique Internet identifiers that ICANN helps coordinate. The intent of ITHI is to then track those measurements over a substantive period of time and to provide the data collected to the community to help facilitate discussions related to those identifiers.

WHAT IS THE SCOPE OF THE ITHI PROJECT?

The scope of ITHI is all the Internet unique identifiers that ICANN helps coordinate.

WHAT IS THE FRAMEWORK FOR THIS INITIATIVE?

ITHI is outlined in the framework of the ICANN 2016-2020 Strategic Plan | Mobile Accessible [PDF, 408 KB], Section 2.1.

WHAT IS THE TIMEFRAME FOR THE ITHI PROJECT?

The kick-off of the ITHI project took place during an open session at ICANN55 in Marrakech on March 9th 2016. The expectation is to work with the community iteratively to define relevant metrics and track them over a long period of time. We anticipate the data collection, after the metrics are defined, will be an ongoing activity of ICANN.

WHO ARE THE RELEVANT COMMUNITIES THAT ARE ADDRESSED BY ITHI?

The communities that are addressed by ITHI are the operational communities – Domain Names, Numbering Resources, and Protocol Parameters. ICANN OCTO is reaching out separately to the Domain Names, Numbering Resources and Protocol Parameters communities to work with them to define the relevant metrics for their respective domain.

HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE IN ITHI?

You can participate in the project by joining the discussions on the ITHI mailing list: ithi@icann.org. To subscribe, visit  https://mm.icann.org/mailman/listinfo/ithi or email  ithi-request@icann.org.

WHAT WILL BE THE PROCESS TO DEFINE THE ITHI METRICS?

Following SSAC recommendation 077, ICANN OCTO is implementing a 2-step process to define the ITHI metrics:

First, ICANN ask each community to define a set of potential strategic risks that they are concerned about. Examples of these could be security, abuse, registry accuracy, fair access to resources, open access to data, etc. More can be found in the “Strategy Risks” subsection of section 2.1 of the ICANN 2016-2020 Strategic Plan | Mobile Accessible [PDF, 408 KB].

Second, once those strategic risks are understood, ICANN will work collaboratively with each operational community to define metrics that would help in tracking those strategic risks.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO DEFINE THOSE METRICS?

It is up to each operational community to define their respective metrics, and it may be an ongoing activity. The expectation is that a first set of metrics can be defined within one year.

ICANN’S ROLE IS PREDOMINENTLY ABOUT DOMAIN NAMES, WHY IS THE ORGANIZATION CONCERNED ABOUT METRICS FOR THE NUMBERING RESOURCES AND PROTOCOL PARAMETERS COMMUNITIES?

As described in ICANN’s Bylaws, ICANN’s Mission is “[…]to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.”

This was reaffirmed in the 2009 Affirmation of Commitments:

“For the purpose of this Affirmation the Internet’s domain name and addressing  system (DNS) is defined as: domain names; Internet protocol addresses and autonomous system numbers; protocol port and parameter numbers. ICANN coordinates these identifiers at the overall level, consistent with its mission.”

WHY IS ICANN CONCERNED ABOUT INTERNET HEALTH?

Section 2 of the ICANN 2016-2010 Strategic Plan is to “foster and coordinate a healthy, secure, stable, and resilient identifier ecosystem.”

ISN'T ITHI BEYOND ICANN'S MANDATE??

A11: No. ITHI is part of ICANN fulfilling its mission “to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet's unique identifier systems” per its mission statement.

IS ITHI ABOUT MEASURING THE QUALITY OF THE WORK DONE BY THE VARIOUS ICANN COMMUNITIES?

No, ITHI is about tracking the health of the unique identifiers of the Internet over a substantive period of time. ICANN’s role is limited to performing these measurements and making the results publicly available.

Various policy-making and operational bodies within ICANN and externally will be able to choose whether or not to use the results of theses measurements as they see fit.

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"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."