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ICANN Board Conflicts of Interest Review - Independent Expert Report

As part of ICANN's ongoing focus on improving how the ICANN Board addresses conflicts of interest, as well as enhancing ICANN's ethical culture, ICANN is posting the work of the team of international ethic experts in this regard. The team, comprised of Jermyn Brooks (former World Chair of Price Waterhouse; currently Board member of Transparency International and Chair of its Business Advisory Board; Chair of the Global Network Initiative), Mervyn King (ex-judge from South Africa, the most prominent name in corporate governance worldwide, currently honorary chair of the Global Reporting Initiative and Chair of the International Integrated Reporting Council) and Aron Cramer (president and CEO of Business for Social Responsibility, prolific speaker and writer on corporate responsibility and sustainability issues as well as advisor to many companies including the ICT industry), has prepared a Report for discussion [PDF, 570 KB] with the ICANN Board and the community at the upcoming Prague meeting. Information on the session is available at http://prague44.icann.org/node/31635.

The team's work has been conducted in coordination with the Board Governance Committee, and is the third part of ICANN's comprehensive review of its conflicts and ethics practices. Just recently, ICANN adopted a Revised Conflicts of Interest Policy and additional governance documents, and also released two reports by Cooley LLC on ICANN's corporate governance practices.


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