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Independent Evaluator Seeks Public Input to At-Large Advisory Committee ('ALAC') Review

Westlake Consulting Limited (WCL) was selected by ICANN's Board of Directors to conduct an independent review of the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) . WCL's review team is gathering information from many different sources, including a series of in-person discussions and briefings at the ICANN meeting in New Delhi, from 10-14 February. WCL will conduct further interviews in person and electronically with a range of people who have an interest, directly or indirectly, in the ALAC, with a view to achieving the objectives of the Review:

  • [To determine] whether the ALAC has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure; and,
  • If so, whether any change in structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness.

The Review Terms of Reference note that:

“It will be important to consider … different perspectives relevant to the ALAC, including the views of individual Internet users, the ALSs, the RALOs, past and current Members of the ALAC, and many others within (and perhaps outside of) the ICANN community.”

Accordingly, WCL invites individuals or organisations, who wish to contribute observations or information about any aspect of the role, structure or operation of the ALAC, to email their comments to alacreview@westlakenz.com, no later than 18 April 2008.

This review is part of ICANN’s ongoing commitment to its evolution and improvement, and is one of multiple reviews being conducted of ICANN’s structures. The reviews are intended to ensure an independent examination of the role and operation of key elements of ICANN, and will be conducted in an objective manner by independent reviewers, under guidance from the Board on each review’s terms of reference, and with the opportunity for public comment on the results of the reviews.

About the At-Large Advisory Committee

ICANN's At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) is responsible for considering and providing advice on the activities of ICANN, as they relate to the interests of individual Internet users (the "At-Large" community). ICANN, as a private sector, non-profit corporation with technical management responsibilities for the Internet's domain name and address system, relies on the ALAC and its supporting infrastructure (At-Large groups all over the world) to involve and represent in ICANN a broad set of individual user interests.

About Westlake Consulting Limited

WCL is a New Zealand-based advisory firm specialising in organisational governance, strategy and structures. It advises boards and management in the private and public sectors, and has particular experience working with NGOs and other not-for-profit organisations.


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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."