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Landmark Step in ICANN’s Use of Accountability Mechanisms

On Friday (19 February), we received the Declaration of the Panel from the first ICANN Independent Review Process (IRP), which is posted here:

This is a landmark step in ICANN’s use of the accountability mechanisms built into our bylaws. ICM’s initiation of the Independent Review process marks the first time the process has been used since its creation about six years ago.
The Declaration will now be reviewed and considered by the ICANN Board of Directors during its next meeting, pursuant to the ICANN Bylaws, Article IV, section 3.  The Board’s next meeting is scheduled to be held in Nairobi on March 12.

Here are some key points arising from Declaration:

  • The panel’s decision is not binding. It advised the ICANN Board to reconsider the .XXX gTLD at its next meeting.
  • This rejection of the .XXX gTLD, which generated the Declaration, is an extremely complex issue.
  • ICANN’s board voted down the .XXX gTLD on multiple grounds.
  • There was considerable public concern expressed against this particular gTLD, which can be found here:
  • After this long history with the .XXX application, it will again land in the hands of the ICANN Board of Directors.

The IRP process was designed to enhance ICANN accountability and was approved by the ICANN board in 2003.  This first use is a testament to the enhanced accountability.  As a result of the IRP, the ICANN board will again consider the proposed .XXX top-level domain, despite the previous considerable stakeholder and public opposition to its approval.

Chronological History of ICM’s Involvement with ICANN [PDF, 93K]

Rod Beckstrom
CEO and President
21 February 2010


    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."