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ICANN agrees to provide contribution to the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) Secretariat

The ICANN Board agreed to provide a contribution to the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) Secretariat. The WGIG was established by the Secretary General of the United Nations in order to "develop a working definition of Internet governance" and "identify the public policy issues that are relevant to Internet governance." The WGIG will prepare a report for consideration for the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, to be held in Tunis in 2005.

The WGIG Secretariat is responsible for supporting the WGIG and its work, including the preparation of materials, reaching out to stakeholders, and preparing the draft report of the WGIG as input to the WSIS. The WGIG consists of 40 members and includes members of the ICANN community.

The work of the WGIG is already underway, trying to come to terms with issues such as affordable Internet access for all, and cross-border cooperation on spam, cyber-security and cyber-crime (see WGIG inventory of public policy issues and priorities). Today's contribution demonstrates ICANN's support for the International community's efforts to address these important issues. As part of that understanding of Internet governance, it is particularly important that there is a sound understanding of the areas for which ICANN is responsible and its impact to date.

The ICANN community is closely following the WSIS and WGIG discussions, and is seeking to ensure a broader understanding of how the ICANN framework functions.


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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."