How to Follow ICANN’s Government Engagement IGO Observations

The Government Engagement (GE) function at ICANN org is responsible for the development and implementation of a global strategy to engage with governments and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs). The GE team, comprised of political issue-based subject-matter experts, also monitors and analyzes government and IGO activities to ensure that ICANN has the necessary information and tools to address geopolitical issues impacting ICANN’s mission.

In February, we launched a Government Engagement Publications page, where we will periodically share information and analysis with the community at large. These publications will explore the different political structures and processes in place, covering everything from the ongoing cyber discussions taking place in the various United Nations (UN) and IGOs’ structures, to discussions of the European political agenda.

Increasingly, governments and intergovernmental forums are considering or developing policies, legislation, and regulations that impact the Internet. The results of some of these discussions may impact ICANN’s ability to develop policies, run its operations, and fulfill its mission. As governments attempt to regulate the global nature of the Internet and its content, it is becoming increasingly important for ICANN to expand our engagement surrounding potential legislative and regulatory efforts to help governments and IGOs better understand the technical underpinnings of the Internet. It is for this reason that we are tracking the various discussions and potential resolutions taking shape within these IGOs. And at the national and regional level, in addition to legislatures, we want to work with the other various functions, such as the Data Protection Agencies (DPAs), regulators, and other aspects of governments to avoid unintended consequences resulting from their regulatory or legislative activities.

ICANN has an important role to serve as a trusted source of neutral technical information. These papers help us transfer our knowledge of the the discussions taking place within these organizations, that could possibly impact ICANN’s mission and its remit, to the community.

Our GE team aims to continue to support this role and our technical subject matter experts by continuously providing the necessary knowledge to help IGOs understand the actual operation of the technical underpinnings of the Internet.

List of Publications to Date:

Domain Name SystemInternationalized 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.”

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