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Correspondence from GAC Chairman to ICANN Board regarding .XXX TLD

From: Mohd Sharil Tarmizi
To: ICANN Board of Directors
Cc: Government Advisory Committee
Subject: Concerns about contract for approval of new top level domain
Date: Friday, August 12, 2005

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, the Board is scheduled to consider approval of a contract for a new top level domain intended to be used for adult content. I am omitting the specific TLD here because experience shows that some email systems filter out anything containing the three letters associated with the TLD.

You may recall that during the session between the GAC and the Board in Luxembourg that some countries had expressed strong positions to the Board on this issue. In other GAC sessions, a number of other governments also expressed some concern with the potential introduction of this TLD. The views are diverse and wide ranging. Although not necessarily well articulated in Luxembourg; as Chairman, I believe there remains a strong sense of discomfort in the GAC about the TLD, notwithstanding the explanations to date.

I have been approached by some of these governments and I have advised them that apart from the advice given in relation to the creation of new gTLDs in the Luxembourg Communique that implicitly refers to the proposed TLD, sovereign governments are also free to write directly to ICANN about their specific concerns.

In this regard, I would like to bring to the Board's attention the possibility that several governments will choose to take this course of action. I would like to request that in any further debate that we may have with regard to this TLD that we keep this background in mind.

Based on the foregoing, I believe the Board should allow time for additional governmental and public policy concerns to be expressed before reaching a final decision on this TLD.

Thanks and best regards,

Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi
Chairman, GAC

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."