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Final Task Force Report On Whois Services

Final Task Force Report on Whois Services

The Whois Task Force completed its work and sent its Final Task Force Report on Whois Services to the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council on 12 March, 2007. The report concludes the task force phase of the GNSO policy development process (PDP) on Whois, and sets out the key findings of the Whois Task Force, since it was convened in February 2005 and began work on its terms of reference. The GNSO Council will now consider the Task Force Report and deliberate on making a policy recommendation to the ICANN Board.

Staff Notes on Potential Implementation Issues

To assist the GNSO in its deliberations, and to support the work of the community, the ICANN staff has prepared 'Staff Notes on Potential Implementation Issues.' This document details implementation questions and issues relating to the Task Force policy recommendation and its minority report — the 'Operational Point of Contact' (OPoC) proposal and the 'Special Circumstances' proposal -- and is intended to inform ongoing policy work on these issues in a constructive way.

Online Discussion Forum on Final Task Force Report

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A forum has been set up to facilitate further discussion on Whois and the Final Task Force Report. This forum is not part of the formal policy development process, but has been created to allow ICANN stakeholders to continue to share and discuss their views on the output of the Whois Task Force and to inform the process as it moves forward at the GNSO Council level.

Next Steps

The GNSO Council will now begin consideration of the Task Force recommendations. The Council will hold public discussions on this topic during the ICANN Lisbon meetings, and will continue its work online and through conference calls thereafter (updates on Council Whois activities can be found at Following its deliberations, the GNSO Council may make a policy recommendation to the ICANN Board. Should the ICANN Board receive a recommendation from the GNSO Council, it must then consider whether to accept it.

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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."