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Email from Tim Cole to Clint Page

Date: Tuesday, January 18, 2005
From: Tim Cole
To: Clint Page
Subject: ICANN Follow-up on PANIX.COM Hijacking

Dear Clint,

Over this past weekend we learned of an unauthorized transfer of the domain name PANIX.COM from Dotster to Melbourne IT. While we were encouraged to see the involved registrars work together to restore service to the rightful registrant of the name, we have some questions about the root causes of the unauthorized transfer.

As you know, ICANN's central mission is to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet's unique identifier systems. To that end, ICANN endeavors to create policies that promote security and stability, and works strenuously to promote registrar compliance with those policies.

ICANN's recently introduced new Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy includes strong protections against unauthorized transfers. Strict compliance with the policy should eliminate the possibility that a domain could be transferred without authorization.

In order to assist with our efforts to both ensure compliance with the current policy, and to explore possible improvements to the current policy, we would appreciate it if you could please promptly review and reply to the following questions:

  1. Under the Registrar Accreditation Agreement and the new ICANN transfer policy, registrars are obligated to keep copies of records relating to transfers:
    1. Please provide ICANN with the copy of the Whois data for PANIX.COM that Dotster maintained prior to the initiation of the transfer.
    2. Were there any changes to the Whois data for this name in the 30 days preceding the transfer? If so, please provide details.
    3. Was PANIX.COM under registrar-lock at any time prior to the transfer request? If so, when was it unlocked?
  2. Under the transfer policy, registries are obligated to provide notification to the registrar of record upon receipt of a transfer request.
    1. Did Dotster receive notice of the transfer request?
    2. If so, when was the notice of the transfer provided to Dotster?
  3. The transfer policy provides that the "Registrar of Record can choose independently to confirm the intent of the Registered Name Holder when a notice of a pending transfer is received from the Registry."
    1. Did Dotster communicate with the registrant (or administrative contact) in an attempt to confirm the registrant's intent to transfer the name to Melbourne IT?
    2. If so, when and how was the communication sent? Please provide a copy of the request for confirmation.
    3. If Dotster did send notice of the transfer to the registrant, did the registrant reply? Please provide a copy of any reply received.
  4. The transfer policy provides for a period of five calendar days for the registrar of record to respond to a notification from the registry regarding a transfer request. Did Dotster allow the name to transfer by taking no action during the transfer pending period, or did Dotster affirmatively approve the transfer request prior to the conclusion of the transfer pending period? If so, when?
  5. Last week, ICANN posted a request for "Public Comments on Experiences with Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy" <>. Comments received through the public forum on this topic will be used to develop a report concerning the effectiveness of the new transfer policy, and to suggest possible improvements to the policy based on experiences gained following the implementation of the policy. You may wish to contribute to this forum based on your experiences in this matter.

Thank you very much for your anticipated cooperation. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Best regards,

Tim Cole
Chief Registrar Liaison
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

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."