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ICANN org Responds to Digital Services Act Initiative Public Consultation Launched by European Commission

BRUSSELS – 10 September 2020 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced on 8 September 2020 that the ICANN org has responded to the European Commission's public consultation on the Digital Services Act (DSA). The DSA is a legislative initiative launched in response to growing concern over the roles and responsibilities of online platforms. It aims to update elements of the European Union's e-Commerce Directive, including the liability provisions for intermediaries.

In ICANN org's response to the public consultation, which closed on 8 September 2020, it urged policy makers not to conflate the Internet's core infrastructure and operations with the applications that run on top of that infrastructure. Core infrastructure service providers, which are primarily engaged in maintaining stability and interconnectivity, should not be held responsible for third-party content that is outside of their control.

The full set of responses submitted by ICANN org are available here.

For more information about the potential impact of the DSA initiative on the ICANN community, please read this ICANN org Government Engagement publication. This paper provides an update and analysis of the DSA initiative, as well as its relevance to ICANN's technical role in the Internet ecosystem.

About ICANN

ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.


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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."