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ICANN Names Counsel for International Legal Affairs

Marina del Rey, California, USA (21 June 2001) The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced today that Theresa Swinehart will join ICANN as its Counsel for International Legal Affairs. Her extensive international background will strengthen ICANN's legal staff during a period when ICANN is focusing on formalizing its legal arrangements with organizations around the world that are involved in Internet coordination.

Having lived in several countries, Ms. Swinehart brings an international perspective professionally and personally. She has worked with non-profit organizations, corporations, and international organizations on issues ranging from human rights and development to electronic commerce.

Ms. Swinehart was active in the global Internet community's discussions that led to the 1998 transition of the Domain Name System to private sector management and the establishment of ICANN. Active in the ICANN process for consensus-based policy development on domain-name policy issues, she has served as a North American representative on the ICANN Domain Name Supporting Organization's Names Council since 1999.

Her previous position was Director for Global E-Commerce at WorldCom, where she was responsible for all international issues on e-commerce, including data protection, ISP liability, and emerging technical areas such as ENUM (telephone numbering on the Internet) where law and technology converge. Prior to joining WorldCom, she was a consultant for a consortium of Nordic human rights institutes, and responsible for co-editing several books on human rights and development issues. While attending law school, she continued her human rights work with the International Human Rights Law Group.

Ms. Swinehart has resided in various parts of the world, including Australia, Austria, Chile, Norway and Switzerland. She holds dual citizenship (US/Austria), is fluent in English and German, and is conversant in other languages. She holds a law degree from American University, Washington College of Law (USA), a postgraduate degree in International Studies from Universität Wien (Austria), and a BA in International Relations from the University of California, Davis (USA).


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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."