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Following Public Comment Process, ICANN Board Authorizes .COM Contract, FY13 Operating Budget and Plan

After months of consultations, open public comment processes and discussion, the ICANN Board of Directors made several resolutions at its 23 June meeting. These included authorization of renewal of its agreement with Verisign for operation of .COM, adoption of ICANN's operating budget and plan for fiscal year 2013 and approval for delegation of a new internationalized country code top-level domain.

The proposed .COM renewal Registry Agreement significantly improves security and stability of the Internet by modernizing requirements in order to meet up-to-date stability and security standards such as support for Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) and Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC). DNSSEC is a security protocol developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force to protect Internet users by incorporating public key cryptography into the domain name system to digitally "sign" data.

The Board also approved the operating plan and budget for the fiscal year beginning 1 July 2012. The US$82 million budget reflects operational plans for implementation of strategies developed through ICANN's planning process. Key priorities include execution of the IANA functions contract, implementation of the New gTLD Program and the stability and security of the domain name system.

Other Board actions included the approval for delegation of a new IDN ccTLD for Oman to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, and implementation of two Accountability and Transparency Review Team recommendations related to Ombudsman and Nominating Committee activities. The Board also approved Beijing, China, as the location for ICANN's April 2013 Asia Pacific Meeting.

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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."