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Implementation of Registrar Data Escrow Program

ICANN has concluded negotiations and entered into an agreement with Iron Mountain Intellectual Property Management, Inc. to provide escrow services under ICANN's Registrar Data Escrow (RDE) program. ICANN selected Iron Mountain through a competitive Request for Proposals process concluded earlier this year.

Under the data escrow provision of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), all ICANN-accredited registrars must regularly deposit a backup copy of their gTLD registration data with ICANN through ICANN's arrangement with Iron Mountain or they may elect to use a Third Party Provider of RDE services that has been approved by ICANN. The data held in escrow may be released to ICANN upon termination of a registrar's accreditation agreement or expiration of the accreditation agreement without renewal to facilitate transfer of registrations from the failed registrar to another registrar. ICANN plans to have all accredited registrars enrolled in the RDE program within the next six months.

"The vast majority of ICANN-accredited registrars offer high levels of service and integrity," said Dr. Paul Twomey, ICANN's President and CEO. "But as we have seen, there is the risk that a poorly performing registrar can hurt registrants significantly. ICANN's Registrar Data Escrow program provides an important additional layer of protection for registrants."

ICANN and Iron Mountain will begin enrolling registrars in the RDE program immediately. Registrars who elect to use Iron Mountain's escrow service will be required to enter into a standardized agreement with ICANN and Iron Mountain [PDF, 49K]. Escrow agents who wish to apply for approval as a Third Party Provider (TPP) should review ICANN's TPP Approval Criteria [PDF, 21K] and TPP Approval Process Diagram [PDF, 121K], and submit a completed TPP Application [PDF, 21K, MS Word, 61K] to ICANN. All registrars and escrow agents must comply with ICANN's RDE Specifications [PDF, 33K].

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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"""" is not an IDN."