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Safe, Stable and Secure New gTLDs: ICANN Seeks Global Background Screening Services Provider

ICANN is issuing today a Request for Proposal (RFP) [PDF, 104 KB] to identify a Global Background Screening Service Provider capable of generating a thorough and timely background check for all new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) Applicants.

After extensive discussion, debates, and deliberations over the past several years with the business groups, trademark owners, governments, and the Internet community at-large, ICANN's Board of Directors have approved the plan to allow entities to apply for new top-level domains through the new gTLD program. The number of generic top-level domains, (there are 22 in existence today and include familiar names such as .com, .net, and .org), are expected to dramatically expand over the next several years.

Based on extensive community feedback regarding a safe and stable new gTLD launch, ICANN has committed to conducting an extensive background screening of each applicant. The new gTLD program is designed with multiple stakeholder protection mechanisms. Background screening, features of the gTLD Registry Agreement, easy access to zone file data, and data and financial escrow mechanisms are all intended to provide registrant and user protections. The scope of the background screening is expected to cover, at a minimum, the entity applying, key directors, officers, partners, and major shareholders of that entity.

The new gTLD program is expected start accepting applications in January 2012, and receive a diverse set of applications from all over the world. Ensuring that applicants have the intention to operate the new gTLDs in the public interest and in compliance with the program requirements is of utmost concern. Conducting a thorough and timely background check on each applicant is an important component of the ICANN's application approval process.

Respondents are requested to respond to this RFP by replying to: The period to submit questions about the RFP will close on 13 September 2011. ICANN will provide answers to all questions submitted to all respondents by 22 September 2011. The final response to the RFP is due on 4 October 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"""" is not an IDN."