Internationalized Domain Names
The ICANN Board has begun to receive inquiries about its role and views with regard to the various efforts to internationalize the domain name character sets supported by the domain name system. In addition to the IETF's working group on internationalized domain names, several other initiatives to use non-ASCII characters for domain names have begun, including the VeriSign testbed for the .com/.net/.org registries, trials of non-ASCII character sets by ccTLD registries, and the marketing of internationalized domain name pre-registrations by private corporations and others.
The ICANN Board on 25 September 2000, approved a set of resolutions (00.77 to 00.80) relating to the VeriSign testbed. In those resolutions, the Board recognized the importance of the Internet evolving to be more accessible to those who do not use the ASCII character set. The Board emphasized that the internationalization of the Internet's domain name system must be accomplished through open, non-proprietary standards that are fully compatible with the Internet's existing end-to-end model, and that preserve globally unique naming in a universally resolvable public name space.
In advance of the Melbourne meetings, ICANN called for public comment on five general topics:
Internationalized Domain Name Standardization and Testbed Deployment Process. Intellectual Property Considerations in IDNs. Relationship of Character Sets for Internationalized Domain Names to Their Parent Languages. Public Education and Outreach on IDNs. IDNs and ICANN Registry/Registrar Agreements.
Within the ICANN process, there has been increasing interest in—and concern over—issues surrounding internationalized domain names.
At its Melbourne meeting, the DNSO Names Council has adopted a business plan calling for the establishment of a task force to develop consensus policies for the implementation of internationalized domain names.
In its Melbourne communiqué, the Governmental Advisory Committee has reported that it will be forming a working group on internationalized domain names "to examine and report on issues for consideration."
The Board understands that the Root Server System Advisory Committee has begun discussions of the possible implications of these efforts for the operation of the root servers.
It is resolved:
[Resolution 01.38] The Board expresses its concern over likely confusion about the nature and implications of the numerous existing internationalization testbeds and pre-registration services, and urges wider and more intensive education and dialogue among the global Internet community.
[Resolution 01.39] In order to promote better understanding of the technical and policy issues surrounding the internationalization of domain names, the Board designates an internal working group consisting of Masanobu Katoh (chair), Vint Cerf, Karl Auerbach, and Ivan Campos to identify the various internationalization efforts and the issues they raise, to engage in dialogue with technical experts and other participants in these efforts, and to make appropriate recommendations to the Board.
[Resolution 01.40] The Board asks that the working group submit a report on its efforts at the next Board meeting in June.