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ICANN org Responds to the European Commission’s Public Consultation on Standard Contractual Clauses for Transferring Personal Data to Non-EU Countries

BRUSSELS – 10 December 2020 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) responded today to the European Commission's (EC) public consultation on the EC's draft Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) for transferring personal data to non-European Union (EU) countries.

The EC updated the SCCs to incorporate changes needed in light of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and to address issues identified in the European Court of Justice's Schrems II decision. Schrems II invalidated the EU-US privacy shield, a commonly used mechanism for transferring personal data from the EU to the United States. It also raised questions about safeguards that must be implemented to transfer personal data across borders in compliance with the GDPR.

ICANN org's response to the public consultation, which closed today, highlights positive attributes in the draft SCCs. It requests clarifications and identifies broader challenges with cross-border data transfers post-Schrems II.

Both the draft SCCs and the European Data Protection Board's (EDPB) recent recommendations 01/2020, on measures that supplement transfer tools to ensure compliance with the EU level of protection for personal data, will impact the development of the System for Standardized Access/Disclosure recommended by ICANN's Expedited Policy Development Process Phase 2 Team.

The EDPB's recommendations 01/2020 are open for feedback until 21 December 2020. ICANN org will respond to this consultation as well.

The full response submitted by ICANN org is available here.

All contributions to the public comment will be available on the consultation's website.


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"""" is not an IDN."