Skip to main content

ICANN org publishes Charter on Government Engagement Approach

Increasingly, governments and intergovernmental forums are holding discussions and developing policies, legislations, and regulations that impact the Internet. In some cases, the results of these discussions may impact ICANN's ability to develop policies, run its operations, and fulfill its mission. As governments attempt to regulate the global nature of the Internet and its content, it is becoming increasingly important for ICANN to expand our engagement surrounding potential legislative and regulatory efforts that may impact ICANN's mission or operations.

In April of 2018, we began to identify and regularly report on legislative developments around the world that could have an impact on ICANN. After discussions with the ICANN community, and during the process of developing ICANN's next Strategic Plan, the org began to formalize the next steps in its approach to engagement, after identifying and reporting.

Today, we are publishing a charter titled, "ICANN Organization Engagement with Governments and Standards Bodies." Our approach will be limited to providing technical information on issues, regulations, and legislative efforts that impact ICANN's Mission or Articles of Incorporation. We simply want to identify issues that could impact our ability to work in service of our mission, provide information and education to governments on those issues, and help ensure that lawmakers around the world have the full benefit of our technical expertise.

Anytime we talk about government engagement, we get questions about lobbying, or if we are seeking to influence legislation, a politician or public official on a specific issue. We will not influence or impact the development of any legislation. That is not within our remit. We will comply with local laws and local definitions of lobbying, which vary greatly, so our approach to engagement may also vary depending on the region we are in, and we will not be lobbying.

This isn't something the org will be successful in if we try to do it alone. We're interested in your views on new legislative and regulatory efforts that you hear about, and in hearing your thoughts on how those efforts might impact ICANN and its mission. Please review the draft charter, and if you have feedback, please leave it here in comments or share with your regional Global Stakeholder Engagement representative.

This effort is critical to ensuring that we're prepared for any impacts that legislative or regulatory efforts may have on issues within ICANN's remit, and that lawmakers are prepared for the impacts their policies and regulations may have on their constituents.


    Carlos Raul Gutierrez  19:14 UTC on 19 March 2019

    I warmly welcome the news about the sector member application to the ITU-D. From my geographic perspective, the choice to focus collaboration with ITU on access issues is more than timely, as still about half the worlds population lacks internet access. Moreover, everyday the ecosystem faces new challenges from Governmental and Multilateral fronts: from newly created Privacy Public entities, to renewed interested from the global trade system in Internet issues ( UNCTAD, WTO, etc.) ICANN shares more common interest and technical understanding of the Internet with ITU, than with any other IGO. ICANN houses and productively works with Governments trough the GAC members. ITU is one of the few UN organizations that is open to private sector members. I look forward to ITUs approval of this application and to many fruitful common efforts on many other fronts for a free and open internet.

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."