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Email from Tim Cole to Bruce Tonkin

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

Dear Bruce,

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 establish that they have the express authorization of the registrant prior to initiating a transfer, and to keep copies of all transfer authorization records:
    1. Please provide ICANN with the copy of the Whois data for PANIX.COM that Melbourne IT obtained prior to initiating the transfer.
    2. Provide a copy of the authorization that Melbourne IT relied on to initiate the transfer.
    3. What form of identification Melbourne IT use to establish that it had the express authorization of the registrant prior to initiating the transfer?
  2. The RAA also requires registrars to maintain records of the submission date and time, and the content, of all registration data (including updates) submitted by registrars to the registry. Please provide ICANN with a copy of all registration data Melbourne IT submitted to the registry operator regarding PANIX.COM.
  3. The new transfer policy includes a transfer "undo" mechanism intended to reverse any transfers initiated by mistake or otherwise not in accordance with transfer policy.
    1. Did Melbourne IT receive a request to undo the transfer? If so, when? Please provide a copy.
    2. Did Melbourne IT approve the request to undo the transfer? If so, when?
  4. 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."