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Expert Recommended Improvements to ICANN's Accountability Structures

Comment/Reply Periods (*) Important Information Links
Comment Open: 26 October 2012
Comment Close: 16 November 2012
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 UTC Public Comment Announcement
Reply Open: 17 November 2012 To Submit Your Comments (Forum Closed)
Reply Close: 8 December 2012 View Comments Submitted
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 UTC Report of Public Comments
Brief Overview
Originating Organization: ICANN Board
Categories/Tags: Transparency/Accountability
Purpose (Brief): To receive comments on the recommended enhancements to ICANN's Reconsideration Process and Independent Review Process provided by the Accountability Structures Expert Panel (ASEP). The ASEP, that was formed in fulfillment of the Accountability and Transparency Review Team Recommendations 23 and 25, developed these recommendations after a series of work sessions and discussions at ICANN's public meeting in Toronto. ICANN is also providing draft Bylaws revisions that would give effect to the ASEP's recommendations.
Current Status: The ASEP Recommendations and corresponding proposed Bylaws revisions are ready for community consideration and input.
Next Steps: The community input will be provided to the ASEP to consider if refinement is needed. The ASEP's recommendations and the community input will be provided to the Board for consideration.
Staff Contact: Samantha Eisner, Senior Counsel Email: Samantha.Eisner@icann.org
Detailed Information
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose

Recommendations 23 and 25 of the Accountability and Transparency Review Team called for ICANN to convene a group of experts to review ICANN's accountability structures, including the Reconsideration Process and the Independent Review Process. In response, ICANN convened the Accountability Structures Expert Panel (ASEP). The ASEP is comprised of three international experts in the fields of corporate governance, accountability, judicial review and international dispute resolution.

The ASEP has produced a report containing recommended enhancements and refinements to ICANN's Reconsideration Process and Independent Review Panel, with a focus on effectiveness, efficiency, ease of access and expeditious resolution, as well as maintaining and enhancing ICANN's accountability to the community and the global public interest. Prior to issuing the report, the ASEP has maintained an open comment period and interacted with the community at ICANN's public meeting in Toronto.

In the event that the ASEP's recommendations are accepted by the Board, the ICANN Bylaws will have to be amended to give effect to the recommendations. To that end, proposed Bylaws amendments are also provide for community review and comment.

Section II: Background
ICANN's Reconsideration and Independent Review Processes have been in place for a number of years. Information on the current Reconsideration Process is available at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/governance/reconsideration, and documentation of the two Independent Review Processes to date is available at http://www.icann.org/en/news/irp.
Section III: Document and Resource Links

ICANN is seeking comment on the following documents:

Section IV: Additional Information
None

(*) Comments submitted after the posted Close Date/Time are not guaranteed to be considered in any final summary, analysis, reporting, or decision-making that takes place once this period lapses.

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."