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ccNSO-GAC Issues Report on IDN Policy Issues

At the San Juan ICANN meeting, the ccNSO and GAC joint IDN working group finalized an issues paper relating to the introduction and selection of IDN ccTLDs associated with the ISO 3166-1 two letter codes. The paper can be found here [PDF, 41K]. The various sessions where the issues paper was discussed are listed on the major schedule for the meeting here, some of these was webcast and transcribed.

This paper is a result of the request from the ICANN Board resolution per 8 December 2006, reading: Resolved (06.___), the ICANN Board requests the ccNSO and the GAC, through a joint collaborative effort, in consultation as needed with the relevant technical community, to produce an issues paper relating to the selection of IDN ccTLDs associated with the ISO 3166-1 two-letter codes.

Following the submission of the issues paper to the ICANN Board during the San Juan meeting, the ICANN Board resolved that the ICANN community including the GNSO, ccNSO, GAC, and ALAC provide the Board with responses to the published list of issues and questions that need to be addressed in order to move forward with IDN ccTLDs associated with the ISO 3166-1 two-letter codes in a manner that ensures the continued security and stability of the Internet. The Board requests status reports regarding progress by the conclusion of the ICANN meeting in Los Angeles in October 2007.

Further the ICANN Board requested that technical limitations and requirements will be taken into consideration, to explore both an interim and an overall approach to IDN ccTLDs associated with the ISO 3166-1 two-letter codes and recommend a course of action to the Board in a timely manner.


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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."