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Press Communiqué: ICANN Launches Membership Web Site for Individual Internet Users

Marina del Rey, CA, USA (25 February 2000) The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announces the launch of its At Large Membership web site.

After considerable public input, the ICANN Board has developed this program as a new way for Internet users from all over the globe to participate directly in the ICANN process and help ensure the smooth coordination of the Internet's technical infrastructure. Individuals can begin registering today to become ICANN members at

The At Large Membership of ICANN will give individual members of Internet communities worldwide a voice in the selection of Directors to the ICANN Board. By becoming an ICANN member, individuals will have an opportunity to become part of the ICANN "bottom-up" approach to making policy concerning Internet Names and Addresses. ICANN members will be able to receive regular news, updates and announcements about ICANN activities and policy initiatives.

The basic requirements for applying to become an ICANN At Large member are:

  • The completion of an online membership application,
  • A working Internet email address; and
  • A single physical residence verified by a postal mail address.

Thanks to a grant from the Markle Foundation, the initial launch of ICANN's At Large Membership program has been funded without the need for membership dues.

The ICANN Board will consider and adopt further policy about composition and structure of the At Large Membership, and to establish rules for the nomination and election of candidates for the At Large Council, at the Board's next meeting, to be held March 9-10. It is hoped that the target goal of 5000 members can be reached in the next few weeks in order to move forward with the At Large Elections later this year.


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit, international corporation formed in September 1998 to oversee a select set of Internet technical management functions currently managed by the U.S. Government, or by its contractors and volunteers. Specifically, ICANN is assuming responsibility for coordinating the management of the domain name system (DNS), the allocation of IP address space, the assignment of protocol parameters, and the management of the root server system.


Pam Brewster
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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"""" is not an IDN."