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ICANN Statement: ICANN Has Successfully Completed All Its Objectives under the MOU to Date

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (19 July 2004) – ICANN, the global public-benefit non-profit organisation responsible for coordinating the Internet's naming and numbering systems, announced today that it has successfully completed all of its objectives to date under its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). ICANN has so far completed seven independence enabling structural reforms from the MOU on time, and is on or ahead of schedule to complete all of the remaining key organisational tasks.

In September 2003, ICANN signed an unprecedented three-year MOU with DOC aimed at completing ICANN's continued evolution toward privatized management of its functions. ICANN's management responsibilities include overall global coordination of the Internet's root server system, generic and country-code top level domain names (gTLD's and ccTLD's), and Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation.

"ICANN is pleased to continue its successful collaboration with the DOC and to have the DOC's full support in solidifying ICANN's strategic outlook, corporate stability and support systems through the public-private partnership", said Dr. Paul Twomey, ICANN's CEO and President. He added, "ICANN is turning the corner toward autonomous operation and is on path to full independent oversight of the ICANN functions under its global structure and with its global community."

Since 1998, ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, has through the assistance of its globally based supporting organizations and advisory committees successfully coordinated the management of the technical elements of the Internet's domain name system (DNS) to ensure universal resolvability which permits all users of the Internet across the globe to find all valid addresses.

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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."