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Draft Revised IDN Guidelines: Public Comment Period

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ICANN has opened a 30-day public comment period on a draft revised version of the Guidelines for the Implementation of Internationalized Domain Names ("IDN Guidelines"). This draft reflects the experiences of the IDN registries in the implementation of Version 1.0 of the guidelines. Particular attention has been paid to concerns that have arisen about the deceptive use of visually confusable characters from different scripts in individual IDN labels.

Analysis concerning such usage has been ongoing for several months and culminated when the IDN registries met during the ICANN meeting in Luxembourg. Some of the results from this meeting and from the Luxembourg IDN workshop have been reflected in the draft revised IDN Guidelines. This includes:

  • The registries will follow established authoritative language tables when such exist.
  • The registries will not permit the co-mingling of scripts in a domain label when no language table exists.
  • The successor document to the current guidelines must maximize the ability of a registry to support IDN in all regards where it is reasonably needed, and must minimize the ability for the abuse of IDN for deceptive purposes.
  • Policies based on script are needed in addition to those based solely on language, and developing script-based policies should be an immediate focus of action.

Following the Luxembourg ICANN meeting, a working group of registries with IDN experience was formed to work on a revision of the guidelines, to be put forth for public comment. The working group includes the following members:

  • gTLD Registry Constituency Representatives:
    • Cary Karp, MuseDoma
    • Pat Kane, VeriSign
    • Ram Mohan, Afilias
  • ccNSO Representatives:
    • Hiro Hotta, JPRS
    • Mohammed EL Bashir, .sd Registry
  • ICANN Staff:
    • Tina Dam

The revised version is now posted for public comments, and will subsequently be modified in accordance with commentary received. A final draft of version 2.0 will then be submitted to the ICANN Board for endorsement.

The IDN Guidelines v.1.0 can be found here.

The draft IDN Guidelines v.2.0 can be found here. Comments must be submitted by 23 October 2005, 23:00 UTC.

Click here to view comments regarding draft IDN Guidelines v.2.0


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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."