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Thought Paper on Domain Seizures and Takedowns

Recent legal actions (Rustock, Coreflood and Kelihos, among others) resulting in disrupting or dismantling major criminal networks have involved seizures of domain names, DNS name server reconfiguration and transfers of domain name registrations as part of the takedown actions.

This thought paper [PDF, 449 KB] offers guidance for anyone who prepares an order that seeks to seize or take down domain names. Its purpose is to help preparers of legal or regulatory actions understand what information top level domain name (TLD) registration providers such as registries and registrars will need to respond promptly and effectively to a legal or regulatory order or action. The paper explains how information about a domain name is managed and by whom. In particular, it explains that a seizure typically affects three operational elements of the Internet name system ­ domain name registration services, the domain name system (DNS) and WHOIS services ­ and encourages preparers of legal or regulatory actions to consider each when they prepare documentation for a court action.

The thought paper has been prepared by ICANN’s Security team, its authors and contributors are technical and operational staff, not attorneys (although persons with legal expertise were consulted in the preparation of this document). We will have members from the Security team at the upcoming ICANN meeting in Costa Rica and look forward to discussing this with the community.

Comments

    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."