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Preliminary Announcement: ICANN Meeting in Marina del Rey | 13-15 November 2001

Many members of the ICANN community wrote in response to the call for input as to whether the events of 11 September would affect their plans to travel to Los Angeles in November to attend the scheduled ICANN meetings. Almost without exception the respondents emphatically encouraged ICANN to hold its meetings and stated unequivocally that they planned to attend unless the international situation deteriorated to where travel was not practical.

Given this response and given the need to address emerging priorities, ICANN is planning to proceed with its meeting in Marina del Rey in November 2001, subject to any further serious change in the international situation that would affect travel conditions. However, as discussed below, the format of the meeting will differ significantly from what had previously been announced. This is only a preliminary announcement to enable attendees to firm up their travel plans. Details of the meeting will be announced as soon as possible.

The events of 11 September have caused institutions worldwide to rethink their priorities and plans. As an international institution, ICANN is not immune. Although those events raise logistical and other concerns for holding meetings, they also underscore the need to address Internet stability issues, and security as a key component of stability. ICANN is not responsible for the overall security of the Internet. However, given ICANN's global responsibilities for the stability of the Internet's naming and addressing systems and under the new circumstances facing the international community, it would be irresponsible for ICANN not to conduct an in depth assessment of the robustness and security of these systems, and to take steps, if necessary, to strengthen the Internet in these regards. These are urgent matters and of worldwide importance.

The Internet is global in reach, as are the threats of terrorism. The events of 11 September offered a stark and tragic reminder of the incalculable importance of a reliable and secure naming and addressing system to support emergency response, personal and other communications, and information sharing. E-mail, instant messaging, and the web, for example, all played essential roles.

Accordingly, the November ICANN meetings will focus on stability and security of the Internet's naming and addressing systems and of their operational implementation globally. This will be the overriding imperative for the meeting. As such, this will be a very different kind of meeting than previous ICANN meetings and will not follow the usual format.

At this meeting, ICANN will be seeking to promote discussion throughout the community on how to reassess areas of potential threats that could affect services within the scope of ICANN's responsibilities, how to improve readiness to meet these threats, and what additional policies or other actions should be considered and implemented to facilitate such improvements. Clearly not all these questions will be answered in one meeting, but ICANN must now devote its energies as members of the global Internet community towards obtaining answers. Every constituency and supporting organization will be asked to report on its efforts to ensure the stability of the Internet's naming and addressing systems and what additional steps it proposes to take to improve that stability and security among its member organizations. Agenda items will be assessed for inclusion by what they contribute to the overall focus of the meeting.

Although a precise schedule has not yet been mapped out, these meetings will last three days from 13 November through 15 November, inclusive. Constituencies and supporting organizations will be asked to meet during this time to focus on the topic of the meeting. There will be further announcements next week, following additional consultations with members of the community.

There will be a Board meeting at the end of the meeting to address essential business. The Board agenda will concentrate on topics where time is of the essence.

The focus of the meetings may well delay progress on some of the worthy and important initiatives that are currently underway. The effects of such delays have to be measured against the importance of ensuring the stability and security of the Internet itself. This will require patience on the part of those who may experience delays in matters of importance to them so that the ICANN community can bear down on the issue at hand.

Please send any comments or questions to More details will be forthcoming in due course.

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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"""" is not an IDN."