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ICANN gTLD Registry Data Escrow Report

Executive Summary

The 2006-2007 ICANN Operating Plan ( describes the series of projects and deliverables based on the ICANN Strategic Plan ( According to the Operating Plan, ICANN is to "establish a comprehensive plan to be followed in the event of financial, technical or business failure of a registry operator, including full compliance with data escrow requirements and recovery testing" (see Section 1.1.2).

The Operating Plan also states that "ICANN will review gTLD registry data escrow requirements, including the establishment of an escrow agent and quality assurance plan, study registry failover and ensure continuation of operations in the event of a physical or business failure of registry operations" (see Section 1.1.6-7).

This report has been prepared as part of the Registry Failover Project (project # 1C,, to assist with the review of ICANN's existing data escrow requirements for gTLD registries, and to contribute to the above mentioned deliverables. As a part of the review, ICANN is working with several gTLD registries to examine data from an escrow deposit for the purpose of determining whether the current requirements are sufficient or need to be improved.


ICANN's gTLD registry staff are in the process of consulting with the gTLD registry operators and sponsors to obtain further information on the experiences of these registries with the data escrow requirements. Their experiences and recommendations will be incorporated into the final version of the data escrow review, to be published on the ICANN website by 30 April 2007. ICANN staff are also looking for feedback from data escrow providers and the community to articulate the objectives of data escrow, define the circumstances in which ICANN should have access to the data and the data elements necessary for a successor operator to provide registry services in the event that it becomes necessary for a new operator to assume the operation of a gTLD registry.

The next step in the review of ICANN's gTLD registry data escrow requirements is to examine a data sample and to engage registries, data escrow providers and the community in a dialogue on the data escrow requirements. As a result of that dialogue, ICANN gTLD registry staff will provide further recommendations on areas for improvement of the existing data escrow requirements.

Comments on this report may be submitted to through 5:00 PM PDT 6 April 2007 and may be viewed at

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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."