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Announcement | ICANN Extends Global Outreach During Rome Meeting

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) held its first meeting of 2004 in Rome where a record number of delegates took part in over 27 fora to discuss the issues regarding the technical coordination of the Domain Name System (DNS).

The Public Forum was opened by Italy's Minister for Innovation and Technology, Lucio Stanca, who noted, "one of the most important reasons for the Internet's success is that no single entity controls it. We see ICANN as an asset. It should play a major role in the future." ICANN's bottom up, consensus driven process ensures the continuity of this mission. ICANN is grateful to the Italian government for its powerful endorsement.

ICANN's global framework expanded with the formation of the Country Code Name Supporting Organisation (ccNSO), a new, global, policy development arm of ICANN. The event marked the culmination of six years of interaction among Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) managers. The ccNSO will provide ccTLD managers a forum to address global policy issues that affect ccTLDs, with the side benefit of sharing regional Internet issues and policies while attending to the needs of their local communities and jurisdictions.

ICANN Vice Chairman Alejandro Pisanty described the significance of the occasion. "The ccNSO has been an extreme show of consistency of purpose, leadership, and intelligence. Having worked intensely in its early stages, I am most grateful for the efforts of the Launching Group and hope many in the ccTLD community will also recognise them and promptly join the organisation. This is a key moment in ICANN history."

Additionally, the ICANN Board appointed Jean-Jacques Damlamian, a senior French businessman, as chair of ICANN's Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee is composed of representatives from ICANN's broad community and is responsible for appointing members to the ICANN board and ICANN supporting organizations.

Focusing on registry issues, the Board voted to authorise an effort to determine the process by which a successor registry operator for .net will be determined. The current registry agreement will expire in 2005. ICANN will post a formal process towards the assignment of a successor registry before 30 June 2004. VeriSign, Inc., the manager of the .net registry, would currently be eligible to re-bid.

In another action, the ICANN Board approved the results of negotiations with VeriSign regarding the deployment of VeriSign's proposed Wait Listing Service (WLS).

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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."