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ICANN Starts Consultation on How to Protect Registrants | Public, stakeholder comments sought on changes to Registrar Accreditation Agreement

MARINA DEL REY, Calif.: Increased protection for those registering domain names is ICANN’s goal as it launches consultations on its Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) and the accreditation process for companies who register domains.

“I called for the review of RAA and the accreditation back in March, and I’m pleased to be moving into the active consultation phase,” said Dr Paul Twomey, ICANN’s CEO and President. “The need for this review is clear. The current RAA is more than six years old. We’ve seen the number of accredited registrars grow to more than 900. And we’ve seen the incredible difficulties that can be unleashed with the collapse of a Registrar.”

The RAA is the contract that governs the relationship between ICANN and its accredited registrars. The current version was put in place in May 2001. The same contract is in place between ICANN and each of the more than 900 accredited registrars (a directory of which can be found at ).

The consultation is looking for ideas and input on amendments to the RAA and the registrar accreditation process in order to provide additional protection to registrants. Previous discussions in the ICANN community has already helped create a number of suggestions for discussion, which are:

  • Incorporating provisions to govern the terms under which a registrar can be sold and continue to retain its ICANN accreditation.
  • Including additional contract enforcement tools offering more options than the current one option – terminating accreditation.
  • Addressing the responsibilities of a parent owner/manager when one or more of a “family” of registrars fails to comply with ICANN requirements.
  • Requiring registrars to escrow contact information for customers who register domain names using Whois privacy and Whois proxy services.
  • Augmenting the responsibilities placed on registrars with regard to their relationships with resellers.
  • Requiring operator skills training and testing for all ICANN-accredited Registrars.

Details of these proposals, as well as the consultation process, are available on ICANN”s website at

The consultation stems from ICANN board resolutions made at the San Juan 29th International Public meeting held in June 2007. Those resolutions call for ICANN staff to solicit and consider the input of the Internet community regarding proposed changes to the RAA, registrar accreditation process, and related policies.

A complete summary and analysis of community feedback will be made available at the end of the comment period and suggested amendments to the RAA will be posted for further comment. There will be a publicly available assessment of the impact that the input and comment had on the development of the amendments.

“These consultations will make sure we have input from the wider community, and help us make the changes needed to protect registrants,” added Dr Twomey.

About ICANN:

ICANN is responsible for the global coordination of the Internet's system of unique identifiers like domain names (like .org, .museum and country codes like .uk) and the addresses used in a variety of Internet protocols that help computers reach each other over the Internet. Careful management of these resources is vital to the Internet's operation, so ICANN's global stakeholders meet regularly to develop policies that ensure the Internet's ongoing security and stability. ICANN is an internationally organized, public benefit non-profit company. For more information please visit:

Media Contacts:

Jason Keenan
Media Adviser, ICANN (USA)
Ph: +1 310 382 4004

International: Andrew Robertson
Edelman (London)
Ph: +44 7921 588 770

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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."