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Putting the “Stakeholder” Back in Multistakeholder: The ICANN Community at RightsCon 2018

In only a few short years, RightsCon has become an incredibly important and well-attended conference, bringing together civil society, global business, start-ups, technologists, and governments to discuss digital rights. This year, RightsCon returns to North America, and will be held in Toronto, Canada, from 16-18 May. And for the fifth year in a row, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will be both supporting and attending the conference.

RightsCon represents a prime opportunity to reach key civil society stakeholders from around the world on their "home turf." In case that expression does not translate, what we mean is that while business and government representatives are among the approximately 2000 participants, advocacy groups, digital activists, and civic organizations not only provide the majority of the attendees, but also set the agenda.

AccessNow, the organization behind RightsCon, is a member of ICANN's Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC) and it is a strong supporter of multistakeholder policy making processes. Its mission is to defend and extend the digital rights of Internet users around the world.

This year's RightsCon Summit will feature over 400 separate workshops and sessions, including plenty of discussions surrounding the European Union's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, for those looking for a break from the ongoing GDPR debate, there will be panels on Internet policymaking and sessions on cybersecurity.

ICANN community members from civil society groups will organize workshops and speak at various sessions. These groups include businesses, contracted and non-contracted parties, At-Large participants, and ICANN staff. Their sessions include the following:

  • Before RightsCon begins, on May 15 (aka "day zero"), ICANN will host a roundtable discussion on the challenges facing civil society in global Internet policy, plus a session at the RightsCon Young Leaders Summit.
  • Members of the Global Indigenous Ambassador Program and At-Large will hold a workshop on new voices in Internet policy.
  • NCUC will partner with UNESCO in a session aimed at developing recommendations to improve strengths and address weaknesses of the various multistakeholder models.
  • The Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG), along with speakers from ICANN registrars, the ICANN Board, and ICANN org's own Eleeza Agopian, will discuss the enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The two of us will be in Toronto leading the ICANN delegation. Please get in touch if you plan to be at RightsCon - it would be great to see you there! Our contact information is below:

Joseph Catapano
joe.catapano@icann.org

Adam Peake
adam.peake@icann.org

For more information, check out the RightsCon program or visit their website.

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    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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."