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Charter IDNC Working Group

A. Purpose

To meet near-term demand, gain experience in dealing with IDNs as ccTLDs and to inform the country code policy development process launched on 2 October 2007 (IDN ccPDP) aimed at creating an overall policy, a fast track approach to introduce a limited number of IDN ccTLDs associated with the ISO 3166-1 two-letter codes (IDN ccTLDs), in a short time frame is being considered.

The purpose of the IDNC Working Group (IDNC WG) is to develop and report on feasible methods, if any, that would enable the introduction, in a timely manner and in a manner that ensures the continued security and stability of the Internet, of a limited number of non-contentious IDN ccTLDs while the overall policy is being developed.

B. Scope

The IDN ccPDP is intended (if initiated following completion of the Issues Report) to develop overall policy for IDN ccTLDs.

The scope of the IDNC WG is limited to developing feasible methods (for the introduction of a limited number of IDN ccTLDs) that do not pre-empt the outcomes of the IDN ccPDP.

In considering feasible methods the IDNC WG should take into account and be guided by:

  • The overarching requirement to preserve the security and stability of the DNS;
  • Compliance with the IDNA protocols;
  • Input and advice from the technical community in respect to the implementation of IDNs;
  • Current practices for the delegation of ccTLDs.

If issues become apparent to the IDNC WG that are outside of its scope, the IDNC WG Chair should inform the ccPDP Issues Manager of the issue so that it can be taken into account in the ccPDP. The IDNC WG Chair will also submit all Reports of the IDNC WG to the Issues Manager.

C. Membership of the IDN Working Group

The IDN Committee will have the following members:

Members of the GAC including its chair;

Members of the ccNSO including its chair;

Two (2) members of the GNSO;
Two (2) members ALAC;
One (1) representative of technical community;
One (1) member of the SSAC: and
Two (2) ICANN staff members.

The IDNC WG shall select its own chair from the members of the Working Group.

ICANN will provide adequate staff support to the IDNC WG

D. Process for the development of feasible methods for fast track approach

1. IDNC WG Initial Report

The IDNC WG shall publish for public consultation an Initial Report on a method or alternative methods at the time designated in the IDNC WG Time Line. The consultation should include a public discussion with the relevant stakeholders at a designated ICANN meeting.

2. IDNC WG Interim Report

At the end of the public consultation period the IDNC WG shall prepare a Interim Report which contains a review and analysis of comments made on the Initial Report. The IDNC WG at its reasonable discretion, is not obligated to include all comments made on the Initial Report, nor is it obliged to include all comments submitted by any one individual or organisation. The Interim Report shall be published for public consultation at the time designated in the IDNC WG Time Line.

3. Review of IDNC WG Interim Report

At the end of the public consultation on the Interim Report, the IDNC WG shall review and analyse the comments received and may, at its reasonable discretion, add appropriate comments to the Interim Report, to prepare the "The IDNC WG Final Report". The IDNC WG shall not be obligated to include all comments made during the comment period, nor shall the IDNC WG be obligated to include all comments submitted by any one individual or organisation.

4. IDNC WG Final Report

In considering its recommendations the IDNC WG shall seek to act by consensus. The consensus view of the members of the IDNC WG shall be conveyed to the GAC and the ccNSO as the IDNC WG Final Report. If a minority opposes a consensus position, that minority position shall be incorporated in the IDNC WG Final Report. The Report shall be published within seven days after adoption of the Report by the IDNC WG and conveyed to the chairs of the GAC and the ccNSO.

5. GAC and ccNSO support for IDNC WG Final Report

Following its submission the ccNSO and GAC shall discuss the IDNC WG Final Report and decide whether they support its recommendations. The Chairs of the GAC and the ccNSO shall notify the Chair of the IDNC WG in writing of the result of the deliberations.

6. Supplemental IDNC WG Final Report

In the event that the ccNSO or the GAC does not support the recommendations it will inform the IDNC WG of the reasons for this. The IDNC WG may, at its discretion, reconsider its report and submit a re-drafted Final Report to the ccNSO and GAC to seek support.

7. IDNC WG Board Proposal

In the event the IDNC WG Final Report or IDNC WG Supplemental Final Report is supported by the ccNSO and GAC, the IDNC WG shall, within 5 days, submit to the ICANN Board :

a. The (Supplemental) IDNC WG Final Report;

b. The written confirmations of support from the ccNSO and the GAC

E. IDNC WG Time Line

Activity Date* Closure* Minimal Duration
Publish Initial Report 25 January 2008 NA NA
Public Comment on Initial Report 25 January 2008 15 February 2008 21 days
Publish Interim Report 9 April   NA
Public Comment on Interim Report 9 April 7 May 2008 28 days
Publish Final Report 4 June 2008   NA
GAC and ccNSO Support Final Report 4 June 2008 25 June 2008 21 days
Board Proposal** 26 June 2008   NA

* Latest date possible to meet minimal duration for public consultation period

** It is assumed in this schedule / time line the Proposed methodology is adopted at the Paris meeting.

F. Background and References

In the Domain Name System, a ccTLD string (like .jp, .uk) has been defined to represent the name of a country, territory or area of geographical interest, and its subdivisions as identified in ISO 3166-1, and is represented by 2 US-ASCII characters (http://www.iso.org/iso/country_codes/iso_3166_code_lists/english_country_names_and_code_elements.htm). This method of identification was adopted for use in the Internet through RFC 920, dated October 1984, and reaffirmed through RFC 1591, dated March 1994. All ccTLDs in use today are taken directly from the ISO 3166-1 list or from the list of exceptionally reserved code elements defined by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency.

The implementation of IDN ccTLDs introduces the (apparent) use of characters outside the US-ASCII character set (for example characters in Cyrillic, Chinese, Arabic, and other scripts) for domain name strings.

In initial discussions by the ccNSO members, other ccTLD managers and ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) a number of policy questions were identified and a "Questions and Issues Paper" was submitted to the ICANN Board of Directors (http://www.icann.org/topics/idn/ccnso-gac-issues-report-on-idn-09jul07.pdf ). It became clear that the development of the required policy for IDN ccTLDs to resolve the issues raised was likely to take a minimum of 2 years. It also became clear that such a time frame was a major concern for a number of ccTLD managers who have expressed there is a pressing need for an IDN ccTLD in their territory. Because of this, the concept of a fast track approach began to be discussed. In those discussions it was thought that it might be possible to find a method to allow the introduction of a limited number of IDN ccTLDs while the overall policy was being developed.

Policies and procedures that may be relevant to the delegation of an IDN ccTLD under a fast track approach include:

the IDNA protocol standards (http://icann.org/announcements/announcement-2-11may07.htm) ;

RFC 3454 (http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3454.txt);

RFC 3490 (http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3490);

RFC 3491 (http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3491.txt);

RFC 3492 ( http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3492.txt) ;

RFC 1591 and associated procedures for delegation of a country code top level domain (http://www.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc1591.txt)

The GAC principles http://gac.icann.org/web/home/ccTLD_Principles.rtf .

Following consideration of the "Questions and Issues Paper", and statements of the GAC and ccTLD managers on a fast track approach the ICANN Board has requested the ccNSO to explore both an interim and an overall approach to IDN ccTLDs associated with the ISO 3166-1 two-letter codes and to recommend a course of action to the Board taking the technical limitations and requirements into consideration http://www.icann.org/minutes/resolutions-29jun07.htm#m .

At its meeting on 2 October 2007, the ccNSO Council launched a Policy Development Process (ccPDP) by requesting a PDP Issues Report and appointing an Issues Manager. This ccPDP has been launched to develop an overall approach, which includes finding solutions for the matters raised in the "Questions and Issues Paper".