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Plan to Transition Stewardship of Key Internet Functions Sent to the U.S. Government

Culmination of a Two-Year Effort by the Global Internet Community

Marrakech, Morocco… Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Board Chair Dr. Stephen D. Crocker today submitted to the U.S. Government a plan developed by the international Internet community that, if approved, will lead to global stewardship of some key technical Internet functions.

"This plan is a testament to the hard work of the global Internet community and the strength of the multistakeholder model," said Crocker, who transmitted the plan on behalf of the global community. "The plan has now been sent to the U.S. Government for its review, and assuming it meets the necessary criteria, we will have reached an historic moment in the history of the Internet."

The plan provides a comprehensive package to transition the U.S. Government's stewardship of these technical functions, called the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority), which are critical to the Internet's smooth operation. It also proposes ways to enhance ICANN's accountability as a fully independent organization. The transition is the final step in the long-anticipated privatization of the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS), first outlined when ICANN was incorporated in 1998.

The ICANN Board received the package from the community during its 55th public meeting in Morocco, and today transmitted it to the U.S. National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA).   

On 14 March 2014, NTIA announced its desire to transition its stewardship of the IANA functions to the global multistakeholder community. The package is the result of an inclusive, global discussion amongst representatives from government, large and small business, technical experts, civil society, researchers, academics and end users.

"The Internet community has exhibited remarkable dedication to the IANA stewardship transition because we know just how important it is to complete," said Alissa Cooper, Chair of the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) that coordinated the development of the transition proposal. "Internet users the world over stand to benefit from its stability, security, and accountability enhancements to Internet governance once the proposal takes effect."

The global Internet community has worked tirelessly to develop a plan that meets NTIA's criteria, logging more than 600 meetings and calls, more than 32,000 mailing list exchanges and more than 800 working hours.

The package combines the technical requirements of a transition coordinated by the IANA Stewardship Transition Group (ICG) and enhancements to ICANN's accountability identified by the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG-Accountability). The two groups were composed of volunteers representing a broad range of interests from the wider multistakeholder Internet community.

"This plan enjoys the broadest possible support from this very diverse community and I'm confident it will meet NTIA's criteria," said Thomas Rickert, one of the CCWG-Accountability co-Chairs. "The work of this group shows just how well the inclusive multistakeholder approach is working."

The U.S. Government will now review the package to ensure that it meets NTIA's criteria. If approved, implementation of the plan is expected to be completed prior to the expiration of the contract between NTIA and ICANN in September 2016.

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To see further comments (quotes) on the transmission of the package go here: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/iana-stewardship-final-package-quotes [PDF, 46 KB]

To access the media contacts of Internet organizations involved, go here: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/iana-stewardship-final-package-press-contacts [PDF, 284 KB]

To read the IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal, go here: https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/iana-stewardship-transition-proposal-10mar16-en.pdf [PDF, 2.32 MB]

To read the Enhancing ICANN Accountability Final Report, go here: https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/ccwg-accountability-supp-proposal-work-stream-1-recs-23feb16-en.pdf [PDF, 6.03 MB]


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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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."