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Launch of the Extended Process Similarity Review Panel in the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process

On 27 June 2013 the ICANN Board approved an amendment to the Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) Fast Track Process Final Implementation Plan (FIP). The amendment implements a two-panel process for string similarity review in the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process, and was proposed following the conclusion of the IDN Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) Policy Development Process (PDP) as well as a request from the ccNSO to implement the string similarity review process as recommended in the PDP within the Fast Track Process. The ccNSO work has taken into account the experiences and reviews of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process as well as the Governmental Advisory Committee's advice on the matter. Following extensive public consultations, the ccNSO Council adopted in April 2013 [PDF, 118 KB] the Final Report on the IDN ccNSO PDP [PDF, 376 KB]. In time, the proposed policy is expected to replace the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process.

The ICANN Board also resolved on 27 June 2013 that all pending and future IDN ccTLD Fast Track requesters whose strings are considered not valid per the string similarity assessment of the DNS Stability Evaluation, will have the option to request a second and final evaluation by the new Extended Process Similarity Review Panel (EPSRP).

Today, ICANN is pleased to announce the appointment of the members of the Extended Process Similarity Review Panel as follows:

Dr. Max Coltheart (chair), Emeritus Professor
Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University

Dr. Jonathan Grainger, Directeur de recherches au CNRS
Aix-Marseille Université

Dr. Kevin Larson
United States

With this announcement, ICANN is providing notice of publication of the updated Final Implementation Plan for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process [PDF, 879 KB] that includes the changes required for the implementation of the two-panel string similarity review process, as approved by the ICANN Board on 27 June 2013.

ICANN will notify eligible IDN ccTLD Fast Track requesters about their eligibility to request an evaluation by the Extended Process Similarity Review Panel of the submitted IDN ccTLD string.

The community should take note that the previous version of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process Implementation Plan [PDF, 887 KB] published on 4 June 2012 is now archived and is superseded by the revised Final Implementation for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process [PDF, 879 KB]. Archived documents remain available under the "IDN Resources" section of the IDN page:

In addition, ICANN is publishing the Guidelines for the Extended Process Similarity Review Panel [PDF, 86 KB], which now include the names of the panelists and, as foreseen in the guidelines, the name of the research institute and the leader of the research team:

Leader: Dr. Shane T. Mueller
Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences, Michigan Technological University
United States

The IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process Implementation Plan [PDF, 498 KB] was approved by the ICANN Board at its meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea in October 2009. ICANN has conducted two annual reviews of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process between its implementation in October 2010 and July 2012. Summary and analyses of each public comment process are 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."