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Leader Named for Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services

13 December 2012... ICANN's President and CEO, Fadi Chehadé, is launching a comprehensive effort to examine and redefine the purpose and provision of gTLD registration data (referred to as "WHOIS"). As part of this strategic initiative, an expert working group will be created to provide a foundation for the ICANN community to create (through the Generic Names Supporting Organization, GNSO) a new global policy for gTLD directory services. Chehadé has tapped a seasoned executive, Jean-Francois Baril, to serve as the group's Lead Facilitator, and invites interested individuals with the requisite experience to indicate their interest in serving as volunteer working group members (more information here).

Baril will serve as a neutral chair of the working group. He has no direct professional involvement in domain name services, and brings extensive business, standard setting and consensus building experience to this role. Baril helped create new global standards as part of RosettaNet, a global forum in which suppliers, customers, and competitors come together to create industry specific standards. He is a leading authority on supply chain and procurement, is the CEO of Connecting Partners SA, has over 30 years of professional experience, and has held executive positions at Nokia Corporation and Compaq, among others.

"Jean-Francois' abilities to bring together stakeholders representing divergent interests to find common ground are unparalleled," said Fadi Chehadé. I am confident that his experience in the standards setting arena makes him the ideal candidate to lead the effort to identify solutions for the difficult WHOIS issues faced by ICANN and the Internet stakeholders."

The report of the community [PDF, 1.44 MB] WHOIS Policy Review Team encouraged ICANN's Board to seek a new approach to WHOIS (gTLD registration data). In addition to launching this new effort, ICANN's Board directed the CEO to fully enforce existing WHOIS policy, increase efforts to communicate, conduct outreach on, and ensure compliance with existing WHOIS policy. The Board provided detailed guidance [PDF, 266 KB] on implementing the objectives and recommendations issued by the Review Team.

The working group is the first step in fulfilling this directive and will focus on redefining the purpose of collecting, maintaining and providing access to gTLD registration data, and will consider safeguards for protecting data, as a foundation for new gTLD policy and contractual negotiations, as appropriate. The output of this working group will feed into a Board initiated GNSO policy development process, and will serve as a starting point to focus the GNSO's future efforts to create a new policy for gTLD registration data.

As explained by Dr. Stephen D. Crocker, ICANN Board Chair, "WHOIS was developed over 25 years ago. It is critical that this comprehensive effort to examine and overhaul WHOIS be successful. The appointment of Jean-Francois Baril, and the launch of the Expert Working Group, affirms ICANN's commitment to dedicating the resources necessary to evolve WHOIS into a tool that more effectively meets the needs of today's Internet."

More information on the Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services is available here.


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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."