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ICANN Update, by the Community, for the Community

Icann readout 750x425 10jun14

Panel Discussion (Photo courtesy of JPNIC)

Last month, I had the chance to participate in Japan's ICANN Readout session, organized by JPNIC (Japan Network Information Center), and IAjapan (Internet Association Japan). This Readout session is held after every ICANN meeting to update the local Japanese community of key decisions and initiatives made during the meetings.

A very laudable initiative – by no means a new one though, as it's now the 39th round – it provides a very structured and topical update on the last ICANN meeting. It essentially allows Japanese community members unable to participate directly in the ICANN meeting, to hear from those who did.

Learning about ICANN activities through the community lens

The updates were organized in bite-size presentations, and included key discussions about ICANN49 in Singapore as related to the GAC, ccNSO, ALAC and other stakeholder groups touching on diverse topics from WHOIS to IANA stewardship transition, from name collision to GAC advice on new gTLDs. Representatives from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), JPNIC, Japan Registry Services (JPRS) and Internet Society Japan Chapter (ISOC-JP) all took turns to update the community on the latest ICANN proceedings.

It was essentially a whole week of ICANN activities summarized in 2 hours or so, as viewed through the lens of the community, for the community. I thought it was a fantastic initiative!

As the last presenter, I shared the initiatives of the Singapore meeting from the APAC perspective, and the feedback from the APAC Update session during ICANN49. My presentation also included the focus areas of the APAC Hub as well as the past and upcoming programs / activities in the APAC region such as the bi-monthly APAC webinars designed for the region.

Japan's ICANN Readout session, organized by JPNIC (Japan Network Information Center) | Providing an update on APAC regional activities and upcoming outreach programs

Providing an update on APAC regional activities and upcoming outreach programs. (Photo courtesy of JPNIC)

NETmundial, IANA functions' stewardship transition – what do they mean for the community?

A panel discussion followed. The panelists included a good spread of representatives from government, civil society, registries and registrars. We focused on IANA functions' stewardship transition, updates from NETmundial, and next steps forward for the Japanese community.

For the IANA functions' stewardship transition discussion, there was much feedback on how difficult it was to understand all the implications of this transition, and therefore difficult to contribute. A question was asked if we are "fixing something that was not broken". In my opinion, this was perhaps an apt reflection of the views that some held in the room. Others asked about the accountability of the outcome.

I took the opportunity to reiterate what the transition meant and what it didn't, explained the parallel track of ICANN's accountability process, and encouraged further discussion on this during the London meeting.

ICANN should and will continue to reach out and engage. But the power of the community to help amplify that voice, and to have that voice reach the hearts and minds of the people, is still something that cannot be understated, and cannot be done without.While there's always room to make such sessions more useful and engaging in order to invite greater attendance and participation, I thought this was an exemplary ground-up effort in action. We should encourage more communities to adopt a similar practice of organizing such update and outreach sessions, and to help bring ICANN and our work to the community, in their native language, and in a way that is relevant to them.

Kelvin Wong is Head of Outreach and Public Responsibility for ICANN's APAC region.


    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."