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Improving our Planning and Preparation

Over the last year, we all have worked hard to understand the European Commission’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation. One question that has been asked many times is: why didn’t we start the process earlier? I guess there are many answers to that question, but one might be lack of awareness. GDPR is, to my understanding, the first time a local law has an effect on the community’s ability to create policies, impact the scope of pending policy work, set limits on future policies, and impact contractual enforcement – but it surely will not be the last. 

ICANN is not a political institution, and there are many things that are not and should not be in our mission, but we need to be better prepared. It’s becoming increasingly important that we, as both an org and a community, pay closer attention to any potential legislative efforts that may impact ICANN’s mission or operations. After several discussions with you during ICANN meetings, we decided to assemble a list of legislative proposals that could have an effect on current policies and future policy development.

This reporting effort is intended to help us look at how these legislative initiatives impact ICANN and avoid unintended consequences; the effort is not focused on how ICANN can inform and impact the development of any legislation.

Being able to identify any legislative efforts early-on is critical to ensuring that we’re prepared for any impacts those efforts may have on issues within ICANN’s remit. It also affords an opportunity for stakeholders and the community to provide factual information on how the technology works to avoid unintended consequences of legislative efforts. But, just as importantly, we’re interested in the ICANN community’s views and inputs on new legislative and regulatory efforts, and hearing your thoughts on how those efforts might impact ICANN and its mission. We can have early, collective discussions on issues such as how to address potential policy impacts, or how ICANN community participants – including members of the Governmental Advisory Committee – might help spread broader understanding of ICANN’s role in the wider Internet governance ecosystem, or other ideas to inform, educate and prepare for impacts on the work we undertake to execute our mission.

As ICANN’s President and CEO, part of my remit is ensuring the ICANN org is ready for any and all challenges that may impact the way we operate and support the community. To this end, I’ve asked that our Governmental Engagement (GE) team begin identifying and regularly reporting on high-impact legislative developments around the world. This is a new effort, so we may change the format and some other details as we hear feedback from you. Please review the initial report, and let us know your comments on this blog.

We see this as a joint effort between the ICANN org and the community, so we want to hear from you regarding any high-impact developments in the e-privacy and cybersecurity ecosystem that should be tracked in this report. We encourage you to provide our GE and Global Stakeholder Engagement (GSE) teams with information on new developments in your region, or leave comments here on this blog. The aim is to provide useful information for you. I hope that you appreciate the effort and look forward to your input if we missed something.


    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."