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Lars Hoffmann

Senior Director Policy Research and Stakeholder Programs



Lars joined ICANN in January 2013 as a Policy Specialist, supporting a number of policy development processes. After working for ICANN’s Strategic Initiative function where he oversaw ICANN’s organizational reviews, he took on the role of Senior Director for Policy Research in 2020. His areas of responsibility include implementation of policies, recommendations and advice, subject matter research, and the subsequent procedures for the new gTLDs program.

Prior to joining ICANN, Lars was an Assistant Professor of European Constitutional Law at the University of Maastricht. He holds an MSc from the London School of Economics and a DPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford. He was born in Germany and speaks German, English, French, and Dutch, and he can sometimes solve a Rubix cube in under 3min.

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."