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Public Comments Requested on Initial Draft Fast-Track Mechanism for Introduction of a Limited Number of IDN ccTLDs

The Introduction of a Limited Number of IDN ccTLDs Under A Fast Track Mechanism:
Draft Initial Report of the IDNC Working Group
[PDF, 43 KB]
Public Comments requested by 26 February 2008

This is a first Discussion Draft of the Initial Report of the IDNC Working Group (IDNC WG). It is published for comment and input from the ICANN community. This document has not been signed-off on by the IDNC Working Group whose members will continue to provide their own comments and input during this consultation period.

The IDNC WG was charted by ICANN's Board to develop and report on feasible methods, if any, that would enable the introduction, in a timely manner and in a manner that ensures the continued security and stability of the Internet, of a limited number of non-contentious IDN ccTLDs, associated with the ISO 3166-1 two-letter codes (both the official code list of ISO 3166-1 and the list of reserved ISO 3166-1 code elements), while the overall IDN ccTLD policy is being developed.

The scope of the IDNC WG is limited to developing feasible methods (for the introduction of a limited number of IDN ccTLDs) that do not pre-empt the policy outcomes of the IDN cc Policy Development Process (ccPDP) for which an Issue Report is currently being prepared. In preparing the ccPDP Issue Report, the Issue Manager will identify policies, procedures, and/or by-laws that need to be reviewed and, if necessary revised, in connection with the development and implementation of any IDN ccTLD policy. Further, the Issue Manager will take into account the joint ccNSO GAC Issues Paper, input from other ICANN Supporting Organisations and Advisory Committees, public comments, technical limitations and requirements including the IDNA Guidelines, and any other matters that the Issue Manager considers to be of relevance.

Under the IDNC WG charter, in considering feasible fast track methods, the IDNC WG must take into account and be guided by:

  • The overarching requirement to preserve the security and stability of the DNS;
  • Compliance with the IDNA protocols;
  • Input and advice from the technical community in respect to the implementation of IDNs;
  • Current practices for the delegation of ccTLDs.

The fast track approach requires two specific mechanisms which are addressed in this report:

  1. A mechanism for the selection of the IDN ccTLD string (See Section 3 of the report); and
  2. A mechanism to designate an IDN ccTLD manager (See Section 4 of the report).

The purpose of this report is to inform and report to the community on the topics and issues as identified by the IDNC WG that need to be considered in developing each of the two mechanisms, and to seek input and comments on them. This report, and the comments received, will be used to structure and propose potential mechanisms in the next phase of the fast track (See Section 5 of the report for the Interim Report Schedule). As stated above, the outcome of the fast track cannot pre-empt the outcome of the ccPDP. All of the issues/topics raised regarding the fast track mechanisms also are being raised under the ccPDP. Thus, the solutions reached for the purposes of the fast track, out of necessity, have to be as limited as possible.

Comments on this report are encouraged to be submitted by 26 February 2008 via email to idn-cctld-fast-track@icann.org. An archive of all comments received will be publicly posted at http://forum.icann.org/lists/idn-cctld-fast-track/.


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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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."