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A Conversation with Members of the Second Security, Stability and Resiliency of the Domain Name System (DNS) Review Team (SSR2)

Ssr2 members gannon barrett 700x450 26may17 en

James Gannon, Cyber Security Consultant (GNSO representative, Europe) and Kerry-Ann Barrett, Cyber Security Policy Specialist at the Organization of American States (GAC representative, Latin America and the Caribbean).

The SSR2 Review Team is currently reviewing security, operational stability and resiliency matters related to ICANN's coordination of the Internet's system of unique identifiers, and recently held its second face-to-face meeting in Madrid, Spain. Here, in their individual capacities, Review Team members James Gannon and Kerry-Ann Barrett share their highlights and key takeaways from the meeting.

In your opinion, what were the major achievements of this meeting?

James: In early May, we adopted our Terms of Reference and delivered them to the ICANN Board (per the 3 February 2017 Board Resolution). This step allowed us to make significant progress in the face-to-face meeting.

We outlined the work breakdown structure that we'll operate under and defined the key tasks and topics that we will examine during our review. We also met with key ICANN staff, including members of ICANN's Office of the Chief Technology Officer, to engage them in supporting our review.

Kerry-Ann: Some of the major achievements were the softer accomplishments. We began to solidify as a team, which was evident in team members' open expression of different views and opinions. We were also able to narrow down our scope and determine some of the key areas of focus for the review.

What are some of the areas that the Review Team is focusing on?

James: We've come to agreement on the broad topic areas that we will be examining as part of our review. These touch many of the key areas of responsibility, such as ICANN's internal security processes and the security of the unique identifiers that ICANN coordinates.

Kerry-Ann: We are determined to ensure that the review stays within the scope and mandate of ICANN's new Bylaws and within ICANN's responsibilities, as they relate to the security, stability and resiliency of the unique identifiers.

What are the next steps for the Review Team?

James: The next step is to complete our mapping exercise to associate all 100+ areas of interest that we identified in Madrid with subteams, which will be formed in the coming weeks. We'll continue to work on these areas and will meet again face-to-face to review our progress from 25-26 June during ICANN59 in Johannesburg.

Kerry-Ann: In addition to dividing our work into subteams, we'll be maximizing face-to-face meetings and online meetings to progress our review of background information and plan outreach with the community.

Why is it important for the community to participate in the SSR2 Review process?

James: Feedback and input from the community is critical to a successful review. We want to seek feedback and input from the broadest set of stakeholders possible, both within the ICANN community and from those not actively involved in ICANN. The Internet is for everyone and we encourage everyone to get involved with our work.

Kerry-Ann: The work of the SSR2 can only stand to gain from community input. Learning from various members of the ICANN community and being kept up-to-date can only benefit a more comprehensive review process.

Anything else you'd like to highlight?

James: I'd like to thank my fellow Review Team members for the hard work they've put into this process so far. I also want to specifically thank all the ICANN staff who have provided excellent support to the team since our inception.

Kerry-Ann: The efficiency of ICANN's support staff has been tremendous. The responsiveness to the requests made by the team members has been almost in real-time. There is a good synergy between the staff and the team. Additionally, the team put together for the SSR2 has such a great mix of expertise and experience. I hope our comprehensive review will benefit everyone in the long-run.

Get Involved in the SSR2 Review

  • Share your input with the Review Team. Send an email to (Note: This is a publicly archived mailing list.)
  • Become an observer. Review Team meetings, whether in person or online, have a dedicated Adobe Connect room for observers to participate. Learn more.
  • Attend the face-to-face meeting at ICANN59 in Johannesburg (25 – 26 June). The agenda and remote participation information will be posted here. Check back regularly for updates.
  • Bookmark the SSR2 wiki to make sure you stay informed of the Review Team's progress and upcoming meetings.


    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."