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Revised Enhancing ICANN Accountability: Process and Next Steps

Why this matters

ICANN today published Revised Enhancing ICANN Accountability: Process and Next Steps, a document that describes the process to examine how, from an organizational perspective, ICANN's accountability mechanisms should be strengthened to address the absence of its historical relationship with the U.S. Government.

ICANN today published Revised Enhancing ICANN Accountability: Process and Next Steps, a document that describes the process to examine how, from an organizational perspective, ICANN's accountability mechanisms should be strengthened to address the absence of its historical relationship with the U.S. Government. This revision incorporates comments from a further 21-day comment period from 6-27 September 2014.

We appreciate and apologize that this is being posted so close to the ICANN meeting. However, we wanted to provide the revised process to the community so it is available for the ICANN 51 meeting.

On 14 March 2014 the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intent to transition its stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the global multistakeholder community. NTIA asked ICANN, as the IANA functions contractor and global coordinator for the Domain Name System (DNS), to convene a multistakeholder process to develop a proposal for the transition, which would end ICANN's contractual relationship with the U.S. Government that has existed since 1998. That historical relationship has been perceived as a backstop with regard to ICANN's organization-wide accountability.

ICANN received 17 comments during the 21-day further comment period. Based on the input received, ICANN proposes integrating the originally proposed two-group structure into a single Cross Community Working Group (CCWG), in reflection of the strong community support for the CCWG model. Additionally, given the input over the course of the discussions on this process, it's suggested that the CCWG has two work steams: one focused on accountability in light of ICANN's changing historical relationship with the U.S. Government; and the second, on the broader accountability issues the community would like to bring to the forefront.

The Revised Enhancing ICANN Accountability: Process and Next Steps document can be found here [PDF, 350 KB]

A Summary Report of Public Comments received on the proposed process can be found here [PDF. 506 KB].

Public comments received can be found here.


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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."