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Podcast: Cops and Registrants Seek to Amend the RAA

We always try to have a new ICANN Start podcast episode available to you by the first of each month, and the 1 June episode has arrived early.

This month’s episode discusses ICANN’s Registrar Accreditation Agreement. If you’re not familiar with it, perhaps you should be — more than 900 ICANN registrars have signed it, making it one of ICANN’s most foundational documents. Though it has seldom been revised in ICANN’s history, currently, a Working Group contemplates amending it.

Advocates for changing it include individual domain name holders, seeking a “Registrant Rights” charter; and numerous law enforcement agencies have focused on the RAA in hopes of gaining an edge in their fight against cybercrime. To learn more, listen to (or read) Senior Policy Counselor Margie Milam’s briefing in our latest episode of the podcast, entitled simply, “RAA.”

Could RAA amendments unveil cybercriminals? Or might they harm privacy?

If you missed last month’s episode, it’s also well worth your time. Leo Vegoda, Manager of Number Resources, delivered an outstanding orientation on almost every issue related to the fast-approaching shortage of Internet addresses. Whether or not you feel geeky enough to understand IPv4, IPv6, and the differences between them, Leo will help you understand all the ramifications of a worldwide Internet address shortage, what’s being done about it, and how the problem will affect you. If you’ve ever wondered at all about IPv6, check out Episode 5, “What Does IPv6 Mean?”

If you feel you learn better (or faster) by reading rather than listening, I’m pleased to announce that as of this month, every ICANN Start episode now has its transcript sitting right next to it. We’re continuing our effort to make the podcast a useful starting point when you want to understand an ICANN issue that is new to you. The ICANN community has responded, with the number of downloads during the podcast’s second month soaring north of 1,000. Thank you for your support!

What else would you like to hear a basic orientation about? Send an email to, where we’re watching for your input.


    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."