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Extended Deadline: Request for Proposal for the RSSAC Organizational Review

The deadline has been extended for the Request for Proposal for the Independent Review of the Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC). The new deadline is 24 July 2017 at 12:00 PDT.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is seeking a provider to conduct an independent assessment of the Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC). The provider should have technical knowledge in domain name or Internet server operations, or have experience working with the RSSAC or Root Server Operators. The provider should also have an understanding of the root server ecosystem and/or DNS protocol knowledge.

The objective of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to identify an independent examiner that can conduct a comprehensive assessment of RSSAC. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • The continued purpose of RSSAC within the ICANN structure;
  • How effectively RSSAC fulfills its purpose;
  • Whether any change in structure or operations is needed; and
  • The extent to which RSSAC as a whole is accountable to the wider ICANN community.

The review is scheduled to take place from September 2017 through June 2018. For a complete overview and timeline for the RFP, please see here [PDF 642 KB].

Indications of interest are to be received by emailing Proposals should be electronically submitted by 24 July 2017 at 12:00 PDT using ICANN's sourcing tool, access to which may be requested via the same email address as above.


According to the ICANN Bylaws, the role of the Root Server System Advisory Committee ("Root Server System Advisory Committee" or "RSSAC") is to advise the ICANN community and Board on matters relating to the operation, administration, security, and integrity of the Internet's Root Server System. It shall have the following responsibilities:

  1. Communicate on matters relating to the operation of the Root Servers and their multiple instances with the Internet technical community and the ICANN community. The RSSAC shall gather and articulate requirements to offer to those engaged in technical revision of the protocols and best common practices related to the operation of DNS servers.
  2. Communicate on matters relating to the administration of the Root Zone with those who have direct responsibility for that administration. These matters include the processes and procedures for the production of the Root Zone File.
  3. Engage in ongoing threat assessment and risk analysis of the Root Server System and recommend any necessary audit activity to assess the current status of root servers and the root zone.
  4. Respond to requests for information or opinions from the Board.
  5. Report periodically to the Board on its activities.
  6. Make policy recommendations to the ICANN community and Board.

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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"""" is not an IDN."