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ICANN Launches At Large Membership Study — Carl Bildt to Chair Study Committee

26 January 2001 (Marina del Rey, CA, USA) - The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced today that it was commencing a comprehensive study of the structure of its At Large membership. The study will be conducted by an At Large Membership Study Committee that will make recommendations to ICANN's Board of Directors on how individuals can effectively participate in ICANN's policy development, deliberations and actions for technical coordination of the Internet.

Mr. Carl Bildt, the former Prime Minister of Sweden and noted United Nations envoy, will serve as Chair of the nine member Study Committee. An international statesman and information technology advisor, Bildt's current duties include Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations to the Balkans, Member of Parliament of Sweden, and Advisor and Board Member of several Internet and technology-related corporations.

"The Board's approval of the Study Committee and Carl Bildt's selection as Chair is a demonstration of ICANN's commitment to finding an effective way for the perspectives of individuals in every country to be heard and given due consideration," said Vint Cerf, Chairman of the ICANN Board of Directors. "We are extremely fortunate to have someone with Carl Bildt's international consensus building experience to lead this critical effort."

The Committee, which is chartered to seek input from all interested parties and to work toward a broad consensus on ICANN's At Large membership, will use multiple mechanisms for input, including public forums, mailing lists, and a public website. The Committee will encourage the participation of organizations and individuals worldwide, including the development of independent studies and analyses from across the global Internet's constituencies.

"ICANN's actions affect the whole world's Internet users, and I look forward to the challenging task of forging a consensus on the best method for representing this ever-growing constituency," said Bildt. "This will be an international cooperative effort, and I am counting on the participation of a diversity of Internet stakeholders that have an interest in ICANN to help us deliver a workable solution."

The Board invited Charles Costello and Pindar Wong to serve as the Committee's Vice-Chairs. Costello is director of the Carter Center's Democracy Program, and served as an outside monitor for ICANN's At Large elections held last year. Wong served as an ICANN Director and Vice Chairman of the Board during 1999-2000. He also is an active Internet policy leader in the Asia Pacific Region, and Chairman of VeriFi (Hong Kong) Ltd., an Internet infrastructure consultancy. The remaining members of the committee will be announced at a later date.

ICANN also announced the appointment of Denise Michel as the Committee's Executive Director. Ms. Michel has extensive experience in both private and public sector technology policy development, having served previously on the staff of the U.S. National Science Foundation, the American Electronics Association and the U.S. Department of Commerce. From 1993-95, she was Sr. Technology Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Ronald Brown.

Following public comment, the Board also adopted a charter for the study to ensure a consistent base of expectations on the scope and details of the study committee's work. ICANN has posted the charter on its website at


Denise Michel
+1 310 823 9358

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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."