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Joint ICANN Board - GAC Statement: Teleconference on New gTLDs

The ICANN Board and ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) held another productive meeting to discuss the limited number of remaining issues related to the anticipated launch of the new gTLD program. This teleconference was the latest in a series of proactive, issue-oriented collaborations targeted at addressing GAC concerns to ensure the stable and secure delegation of new top-level domains.

ICANN Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush recognized the members of the Governmental Advisory Committee, "for their energetic and well-intentioned devotion to the work of reviewing and improving the introduction of new generic top-level domains. The discussions have resulted in significant progress, including improvements to trademark and consumer protections, assistance for potential applicants from developing countries, and other areas of the program." Together, the Board and GAC have reviewed twelve issues, comprised of 80 sub-issues, discussing each in depth. The work has included several days of face-to-face meetings between ICANN's Board and GAC, meetings that were informed by preparatory papers and conference calls.

"In particular,"  Mr. Dengate Thrush noted, "the GAC Indicative Scorecard and the reports in response to Board-GAC discussions were concise, clear and helpful." Governmental Advisory Committee Chair Heather Dryden said, "the GAC appreciates the time taken by the Board to discuss remaining issues on the call and looks forward to continued progress as a clear signal that the Board is committed to enabling the formulation of true community consensus in developing policy that is in the global public interest as well as increasing the overall accountability and transparency of the organization."

The latest discussion and ICANN Board and GAC agreement on the benefits of having a face-to-face meeting in Singapore pave the way to possible Board consideration of program approval on 20 June 2011.


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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."