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ICANN Board Conflicts of Interest Review - Independent Expert Report

Comment/Reply Periods (*) Important Information Links
Comment Open: 5 June 2012
Comment Close: 6 July 2012
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 UTC Public Comment Announcement
Reply Open: 7 July 2012 To Submit Your Comments (Forum Closed)
Reply Close: 28 July 2012 View Comments Submitted
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 UTC Report of Public Comments
Brief Overview
Originating Organization: ICANN Board/Board Governance Committee
Categories/Tags: ICANN Board/Bylaws
Purpose (Brief): To receive public comment on the Report prepared by the team of independent international experts as part of their review of ICANN's conflicts of interest and ethics frameworks.
Current Status: This Report will be discussed at a public session on 25 June 2012 at the Prague Meeting. The Board Governance Committee and the Board are also considering the Report and the adoption of the recommendations within the Report.
Next Steps: The BGC and the Board will consider the public input to guide further Board action on the Report.
Staff Contact: Amy Stathos, Deputy General Counsel Email:
Detailed Information
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose
As a part of ICANN's commitment to enhancing its overall culture of promoting superior ethics, integrity and transparency, ICANN is posting for public comment the Report developed by the team of independent international experts with recommendations on enhancing ICANN's conflicts and ethics frameworks.
Section II: Background

Over the past year, heightened attention and scrutiny has been placed on how the ICANN Board addresses conflicts of interest, and on enhancing ICANN's ethical culture. While ICANN has a robust conflict of interest policy and code of conduct in place, work has been ongoing with the community and experts to determine how these, or implementation of them, can be further enhanced.

The work posted for public comment today represents one stage of ICANN's three-stage review. ICANN engaged a team of international ethics experts to provide recommendations for the enhancement of ICANN's ethical culture, drawing on international sources, including practices in other not-for-profit organizations. The team of experts produced the Report posted for public comment that will be discussed during the ICANN meeting in Prague.

Other work arising out of this three-stage review has already been presented to the community. ICANN engaged two sets of outside counsel – one that is familiar with ICANN to perform a holistic review of our policies to identify how they can be refined; and another set that is not familiar with ICANN to provide a review and recommendations for enhancements. The Board has already adopted the recommendations from those two stages of the review. As another facet of this work, the ICANN Board has finalized and announced rules on how Directors with interests in specific New gTLD applications may participate in New gTLD-related discussions and in post-Board service activities. In addition ICANN announced stringent communication rules for its staff regarding communications with potential new gTLD applicants.

Section III: Document and Resource Links
The Report prepared by the team of independent ethics experts is available at: [PDF, 570 KB]
Section IV: Additional Information
Information and links to some of the other work arising out of this three-stage review is available at:

(*) 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"""" is not an IDN."