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Domain Name System Security Facilitation Initiative Technical Study Group Begins Its Work

I’m pleased to report that the Domain Name System Security Facilitation Initiative Technical Study Group (DSFI-TSG) held its first meeting on 16 June 2020. The DSFI-TSG will now begin its work to investigate the potential mechanisms to strengthen collaboration and communication on the security and stability issues that impact the Domain Name System (DNS).

ICANN is just one partner in the DNS ecosystem and it will require input from a variety of stakeholders to create a more secure DNS ecosystem. This study group brings together experts in DNS standards and operations, and those who have experience handling cybercrime and security incidents, registry/registrar operations, and critical infrastructure operations.

Members of the DSFI-TSG are:

  • Tim April
  • Gavin Brown
  • John Crain
  • Merike Käo
  • Rod Rasmussen
  • Marc Rogers
  • Katrina Sataki
  • Robert Schischka
  • Duane Wessels

We will work together to build a comprehensive set of recommendations for what ICANN should – and should not – do to establish and promote best practices, facilitate communications between ecosystem participants, and implement processes to help the community handle threats to the DNS.

Our work is technical in nature; questions of policy may be identified and raised, but answering those questions is out of scope for this study group.

Now that we have formally begun our work, immediate next steps include finalizing our charter and scope, setting milestones, and prioritizing research and discussion topics. We plan to publish regular blog posts to update the community on our progress, and meeting notes will be made available on the DSFI-TSG website.


    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."