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French Minister Besson Addresses 32nd International Public Meeting in Paris | Focus is on the evolution of the domain naming and addressing system and its coordination

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Paris, France: Over 1,550 delegates have gathered in Paris to discuss some of most important issues facing the evolution of the Internet, as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) opened its 32nd International Public Meeting here yesterday. French Minister of State Eric Besson opened ICANN's Paris meeting. The Minister of State is responsible for Forward Planning, Assessment of Public Policies and Development of the Digital Economy.

"Massive growth of the Internet worldwide has brought with it opportunities and challenges," said Peter Dengate Thrush, ICANN's Board Chairman. "At this meeting, the Internet community will discuss many critical issues for the future of the Internet and its coordination: the transition to IPv6, the possible introduction of new top level domain names including those in Cyrillic, Chinese, Arabic and other non-Latin characters, and ICANN's future evolution.

"The Paris meeting will also see expansive discussion on the need for business to transition from IPv4 to IPv6. By 2011, ICANN expects to finish distributing unallocated IPv4 addresses and business needs to act now to prepare for IPv6, which offers almost infinite address space."

The Paris meeting is the second of the three public ICANN meetings in 2008.

The next meeting will be held in Cairo, Egypt, in November. These meetings are crucial because ICANN's polices are created through a bottom-up, transparent process involving the global Internet community.

During the opening ceremony, Minister Besson drew attention to ICANN's unique and important role as "the organization in charge of the public trust function of managing the common resources of the Internet", and noted that the overall evolution of the Internet requires the introduction of new gTLDs in many different scripts, not just Latin scripts.

The Minister said that France in particular sees the importance of promoting cultural diversity, and so views as extremely important the rapid introduction of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). He specifically encouraged the various language script communities in different territories to work together.

Minister Besson's opening address also stressed the importance of the planned transition of ICANN at the end of 209 towards a fully multi-stakeholder and internationalized organization.

Noting that the ICANN meeting takes place on the eve of France's presidency of the European Union, Minister Besson drew attention to an important European Union ministerial meeting on Internet issues to be held in Nice, in October 2008. This meeting will help to prepare for the conclusions for France's presidency to be submitted to the European Council in November, 2008.

The complete schedule for ICANN's 32nd meeting, as well as links to webcast sessions and our public participation website, can be found at: http://par.icann.org/

About ICANN:

ICANN is responsible for the global coordination of the Internet's system of unique identifiers like domain names (like .org, .museum and country codes like .uk) and the addresses used in a variety of Internet protocols that help computers reach each other over the Internet. Careful management of these resources is vital to the Internet's operation, so ICANN's global stakeholders meet regularly to develop policies that ensure the Internet's ongoing security and stability. ICANN is an internationally organized, public benefit non-profit company. For more information please visit: www.icann.org .

Media Contacts:

Andrew Robertson
Edelman (London)
Ph: +44 7921 588 770
E: andrew.robertson@edelman.com


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