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Special Meeting of ICANN's Security and Stability Advisory Committee Regarding VeriSign's Deployment of Wildcard

Marina del Rey, CA – 30 September 2003 – ICANN's Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SECSAC) announced today that it will hold a special meeting on 7 October 2003 to gather input regarding VeriSign's recent change to the operation of the registry for the .com and .net Top Level Domains.

SECSAC is an ICANN advisory committee comprised of Internet pioneers and technical experts including operators of Internet root servers, registrars, and TLD registries.

On 15 September 2003, VeriSign introduced a "wildcard" into the .com and .net zones. The VeriSign wildcard redirects traffic that would otherwise have resulted in a "no domain" response to a VeriSign-operated website with search results and links to paid advertisements.

Since the introduction of the wildcard, the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), SECSAC and other groups have issued separate statements expressing concerns over this change to the operation of the Internet's core infrastructure and its impact on the stability of the Internet.

Following this special meeting, SECSAC will issue a report intended to be of use to ICANN, to the technical community, and to the community at large who seek to understand the issues at hand and how the critical parts of the Internet interact with each other.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, 7 October 2003, from 10 AM to 4 PM at:

The Center for Strategic and International Studies
<www.csis.org>
1800 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006

The meeting is free and open to the public. Please pre-register at <http://register.icann.org/secsac/>. ICANN also plans to webcast the meeting live. Further details including an agenda, background materials and webcast arrangements are available at <http://www.icann.org/en/committees/security/>.

In preparation for the meeting, ICANN and its SECSAC have issued a public request for comments and reports to <secsac-comment@icann.org> relating to the effects of the .com and .net wildcards.

Additional information regarding SECSAC is available at <http://www.icann.org/committees/security/>. An information page on the .com and .net wildcards has been posted at <http://www.icann.org/general/wildcard-history.htm>.


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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."