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Enhancing ICANN Accountability – Work Stream 2 Implementation

Work Stream 2 (WS2) of the Cross-Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG-Accountability) comprises nearly 100 accountability and transparency-related recommendations, directed at ICANN org, the ICANN Board, and the ICANN community, which serve to ensure ICANN org remains accountable to the multistakeholder community.

The recommendations of the WS2 Final Report span the following topics: Diversity, Guidelines for Good Faith Conduct, Framework of Interpretation for Human Rights, Jurisdiction, Improving the ICANN Office of the Ombuds, SO/AC Accountability, Staff Accountability, and Transparency.

Recommendations

Implementation status of the ICANN org, Board, and community recommendations:

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Background

As initial discussions of the IANA Stewardship Transition were taking place, the ICANN community raised the broader topic of the impact of the transition on ICANN accountability. From this dialogue, the Enhancing ICANN Accountability process was developed to provide assurance that ICANN remains accountable in the absence of its historical contractual relationship with the U.S. Government. The work of the Cross-Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG-Accountability) was divided into two phases:

  • The first work stream (WS1) concluded in 2016 and developed consensus recommendations on accountability enhancements required for the IANA Stewardship Transition.
  • The second work stream (Work Stream 2, or WS2) focused on topics whose implementation was not required for the successful IANA Stewardship Transition.

In November 2018, further to Chartering Organizations' approval, the CCWG-Accountability submitted its WS2 Final Report to the ICANN Board. The Board resolved to adopt all consensus recommendations in November 2019, including implementation guidance contained in the WS2 Final Report as well as considerations of effort identified in the WS2 Implementation Assessment Report.

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."