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Countdown to ICANN51: Celebrating Our Vibrant and (Very) Busy Community

Countdown icann51 community 750x425 10oct14

Because ICANN 51 is our annual general meeting, my colleagues and I have been reflecting on the community's accomplishments of the year. You have done a staggering amount of work this year. These collective achievements are even more impressive when we consider how much is done by volunteers, many working day jobs and doing this in "spare time."

The ICANN 51 meeting schedule has a dizzying array of topics being covered in our 220-plus sessions starting on Saturday. Of course the IANA stewardship transition and enhancing ICANN's accountability efforts are a huge part of the work of every Supporting Organization and Advisory Committee. But there are also multiple sessions on various aspects of the New gTLD Program, including an update on Monday, 13 October about prospective future rounds. WHOIS and next generation TLD directory services, internationalized domain names, privacy and proxy services for domain name registration, and DNSSEC are just some of the major topics we'll cover collectively over this intense week.

To function effectively, the ICANN community continues to commit to the regular exchange of information and views among its many members and organizations. So it is no surprise that this year we've seen cross-community efforts within ICANN continue to evolve and expand. The ccNSO, GAC and GNSO are leading the way in strengthening their collaborative work through efforts such as the GAC/GNSO Consultation Group and the ccNSO and GNSO joint meeting. The At-Large Community has continued to make important contributions to ICANN's processes: submitting 53 policy advice statements last year, participating in working groups and as liaisons, and crafting extensive recommendations for ways to improve ICANN through the ATLAS II Declaration.

If you want to learn more about the "numbers" part of ICANN, you have a great opportunity to do so by attending the Address Supporting Organization Open Forum on Wednesday, 15 October. These representatives of the world's five Regional Internet Registries are ready to provide advice on Internet Protocol addresses and autonomous system number topics to any ICANN constituency.

The Root Server Security Advisory Committee is also holding an information session on Wednesday to update the community on its restructuring and on the pool of experts comprising the new RSSAC Caucus. The RSSAC represents the organizations responsible for operating the world's 13 root name servers, and others concerned with stable technical operation of the authoritative root server system.

ICANN's Security and Stability Advisory Committee will hold its public meeting on Thursday, 16 October. That agenda will include updates on its technical work on public suffix lists and continued discussions related to new gTLDs.

Our annual general meeting also means leadership changes at all levels. We'll pause at the Public Board Meeting on Thursday to thank 24 of our community leaders for the time, energy and resources they have given ICANN over their terms of service. And we'll welcome new leadership and new volunteers, all with the recognition that so much of the important work we do is underpinned by the generous efforts of our volunteers who are united—as we all are—by a common belief in one, unified Internet and inspired to do this work in the public interest. My colleagues and I look forward to seeing many of you at ICANN 51 and thanking you in person.


    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."