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Proposals Sought to Provide Costs and Feasibility to Conduct WHOIS Registrant Identification Studies

The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) is responsible for developing and recommending to the ICANN Board substantive policies relating to gTLDs. The GNSO Council is now exploring several extensive studies of WHOIS and has asked ICANN to estimate the cost and feasibility of conducting several studies proposed by members of the ICANN community and ICANN's Government Advisory Committee. The first area of study focuses on "misuse" of public WHOIS information, and an RFP related to these studies, was posted on 27 September 2009. ICANN is now seeking to engage independent research organizations to undertake proposed WHOIS registrant identification studies. The Registrant Identification Studies RFP Cover Letter [PDF, 45K] illustrates the scope of work and the criteria for selection. This document should be read in conjunction with the Terms of Reference for WHOIS Registrant Identification Studies RFP [PDF, 85K]. Read together, these two documents provide the materials necessary to respond to this Request for Proposals ("RFP") for WHOIS Registrant Identification Studies.

More information about WHOIS may be found at: http://gnso.icann.org/issues/whois/index.html

By 22 December, 2009, interested applicants should submit proposals by email to rfpwhois@icann.org to the attention of Liz Gasster, Senior Policy Counselor, ICANN Policy Department. A confirmation email will be sent for each proposal received.


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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."