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ICANN Announces Selection of Ombudsman

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is pleased to announce that after an extensive International search, the selection of an Ombudsman has been completed. Frank Fowlie joins ICANN as Ombudsman effective immediately.

A native of Canada, Mr. Fowlie brings 20 years of experience to the position as an Ombudsman and conflict resolution specialist, having operated in various agencies of the Canadian government and the United Nations.

Consistent with his independent status, the Ombudsman will have his own separate offices, as well as access to ICANN's offices in Marina del Rey, USA, and Brussels, Belgium.

The principal function of the Ombudsman shall be to provide an independent internal evaluation of complaints by members of the ICANN community who believe that the ICANN staff, Board or an ICANN constituent body has treated them unfairly. The Ombudsman shall serve as an objective advocate for fairness, and shall seek to evaluate and where possible resolve complaints about unfair or inappropriate treatment by ICANN staff, the Board, or ICANN constituent bodies, clarifying the issues and using conflict resolution tools such as negotiation, facilitation, and "shuttle diplomacy" to achieve these results.

The Ombudsman's first order of business will be to develop, with community feedback, an operational framework and contact mechanisms.

The Office of the ICANN Ombudsman is established by Article V of the ICANN Bylaws http://www.icann.org/general/bylaws.htm#V.

For media enquiries about this announcement, please contact press@icann.org.


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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."