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DISCUSSION: Reviewing New gTLD Program Safeguards Against DNS Abuse

ICANN is currently engaged in data collection on DNS abuse and mitigation efforts implemented as part of the New gTLD Program. Members of the community and general public are invited to join ICANN on 28 January 2016 in an open discussion on the topic. This work will help inform the efforts of the review team examining the effects of the Program on Competition, Consumer Choice, and Consumer Trust, which will assess the safeguards in the Program as part of its work.

The goals of the discussion are to help formulate a definition of DNS abuse, brainstorm methods for measuring abuse, and gather qualitative, experiential input on whether safeguards to mitigate DNS abuse in new gTLDs have been effective. The discussion will be structured around 4 central topics, which participants are encouraged to consider prior to joining:

Topic 1: Which activities do you consider to be DNS abuse? If you could put forth a globally accepted definition of DNS abuse, what would it be? This definition should be broad enough to cover various malicious uses of the DNS.

Topic 2: What are the most effective methods to measure the prevalence of abusive activities in the DNS?

Topic 3: As part of the New gTLD Program, ICANN introduced safeguards [PDF, 128 KB] to mitigate potential DNS abuse in new gTLDs (listed below). How can we measure the effectiveness of these safeguards?

  1. Vetting registry operators
  2. Requirement for DNSSEC deployment
  3. Requirement for Thick WHOIS records
  4. Prohibition of "wild carding"
  5. Removal of orphan glue records
  6. Centralization of Zone file access
  7. Abuse contact and documented anti-abuse policy requirements for registries and registrars
  8. Availability of expedited registry security request process
  9. High-security zone verification

Topic 4: What has been your experience, personally or on behalf of an organization, with these safeguards? Please tell us:

  • Which were and/or were not effective? How so and why do you believe they were or were not effective?
  • Are there safeguards that should have been included but were not?

Any remaining time will be open for questions and related discussion.

Discussion Details & How to Attend

ICANN will hold two discussions to enable participation in all regions. Use the time zone converter to determine local times.

Date: 28 January 2016

  • Discussion 1: 02:00 - 03:30 UTC
  • Discussion 2: 16:00 - 17:30 UTC

Join Online:
Join the Teleconference: Download numbers now [PDF, 89 KB]. Passcode: 144 144 2688

These discussions will be conducted in English. Recordings will be published at:

Register to Attend or Participate via Questionnaire

Want ICANN to remind you about the event? Register to attend the discussion and we'll send you an email with participation information. Unable to attend, but want to contribute? Give us the OK to send you a questionnaire so you can tell us about your experiences. Visit:

[UPDATE 28 January 2016 – Fill out the questionnaire:]

Further Information

ICANN's New gTLD Program has enabled hundreds of new top-level domains to enter into the Internet's root zone since the first delegation occurred in October 2013. Comprehensive reviews of the program have begun and will cover a variety of topics including competition, consumer trust and choice (CCT), security and stability, rights protection and other areas. Along with commissioning third-party analyses, ICANN is capturing stakeholder experiences regarding operation of the New gTLD Program and its effects on the domain name industry. Lessons learned as a result of these efforts will help shape future rounds of the program.

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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."