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ICANN70 Will Be Held as Virtual Community Forum

LOS ANGELES – 14 January 2021 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today announced that the ICANN Board of Directors has made the decision to convene ICANN70 as a Virtual Public Meeting due to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This meeting was initially planned to be held in Cancún, Mexico. In consultation with community leaders, the ICANN70 Virtual Community Forum dates have been modified and the meeting is now scheduled to be held 22-25 March 2021.

The health and safety of the ICANN community is always a top priority, and as such, holding ICANN70 as an in-person meeting would not be feasible on its scheduled date. Along with its resolution, the Board details its rationale. A number of challenges to in-person meetings still remain, including uncertainties around the ability and willingness of participants to travel, whether physical distancing requirements are possible to implement, the impact of a potential case among participants, and the progress of the second wave of the virus across the world.

The Board fully appreciates the importance of face-to-face interaction and looks forward to a return to in-person ICANN Public Meetings as soon as is practical. The Board has directed ICANN org to work in coordination with the ICANN community to meet the expected outcomes of an ICANN Community Forum and support the community's ongoing priorities, policy advice, and development work in a virtual format.

ICANN70 will be the fourth ICANN Virtual Public Meeting since the pandemic began. ICANN org began a community engagement process in September 2020 to consider lessons learned from previous virtual meetings and how those learnings can impact future ICANN Public Meetings. ICANN org will implement several community suggestions to enhance the virtual experience for ICANN70.

ICANN thanks our regional partners in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) as well as the local host committee in Mexico that worked tirelessly to prepare for this meeting in Cancún. We appreciate their understanding and we look forward to returning to the LAC region in the coming years.

Those interested in attending ICANN70 must register to participate. To learn more about the meeting time zone, language interpretation options, and schedule, visit You can sign up to receive ICANN announcements in your inbox here.

For more information, visit the ICANN Meetings 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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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."