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James Bladel, GNSO Council Chair, Introduces the New Council and Looks Ahead to 2016

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2015/2016 GNSO Council

Hello, and welcome to the GNSO! Whether you are an ICANN veteran, or still trying to decode all of the acronyms, the busy agenda of the GNSO ensures that there's always something new to learn. On behalf of the GNSO Council and all of the GNSO stakeholder groups, I'd like to thank you for taking an interest in our work.

As the incoming Chair, I'm honored to continue the legacy of achievement established by my predecessors, while shifting the leadership of the GNSO Council to a collaborative, team-based approach. Our two Vice Chairs, Donna Austin and Heather Forrest, bring a wealth of industry experience and subject expertise to their roles, and I'm excited to work closely with them over the coming year. We also have two new voting NomCom Appointees (NCAs), in Valerie Tan and Julf Helsingius and Carlos Gutiérrez returns for another term as our non-voting NCA.

This group, along with our liaisons to & from the ALAC, GAC and ccNSO, and all of the new and returning Councilors, is ideally situated to undertake the work ahead. And there's no shortage of work in the coming year, as the Council is expected to address issues including:

  • IANA Transition and Accountability - This is front of mind for nearly everyone at ICANN, and as a Chartering Organization, volunteers from the GNSO are major contributors to this work.
  • WHOIS/RDDS - Always a source of spirited debates, there are a number of projects on this subject, including new rules for translation/transliteration, WHOIS privacy & proxy services and kicking off work on a Next Generation replacement for WHOIS.
  • Next Round new gTLDs - New gTLDs are still being delegated, but it's time to prepare for the next round. What worked well in the past round, and what didn't? And how should the community disposition auction funds?
  • Rights Protections for IGO/INGOs - Policy development is underway to examine RPMs that meet the special needs of these organizations.

A full list of active GNSO projects can be found here:

None of this would be remotely possible without the tireless work of volunteers from the GNSO Community and throughout ICANN. But one group in particular should be recognized, and that's the ICANN GNSO Policy Staff. This team works around the clock to support the Council, and all of the working groups, drafting teams and implementation reviews, and they are an essential ingredient to our success.

Finally, I encourage everyone to get involved in the work of the GNSO. New participants are always welcome, and don't be intimidated by the complexity of these issues. We were all new once, and a common trait among ICANN veterans is a willingness to help new volunteers. Please feel free to contact me and the GNSO Leadership team at ( if we can help answer any questions.

James Bladel
GNSO Council Chair


    Benjamin Goodwin  01:32 UTC on 28 December 2015

    Thanks to the volunteers !

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."