ICANN Update Session, APRICOT 2014

24 February 2014, 1045-1245hrs

The presentation slide can be downloaded here: ICANN Update_ APRICOT 2014 FINAL.pdf 

ICANN’s Asia Pacific Hub hosted an Update Session on the sidelines of APRICOT, highlighting key updates from the last ICANN48 meeting in Buenos Aires (November 2013), and key issues that are likely be discussed at the upcoming ICANN49 meeting in Singapore in March 2014. The session was intended as a ‘pilot’ to bring the some of the key ICANN issues back to our community, in a way that could relate to both newcomers and experts in the region.  Through lowering the barriers of entry, we hope to seek to explore ways for our community to collaborate and/or engage on these issues. Almost 80 participants attended the session, including a number that had never previously attended an ICANN meeting.

The session focused on 4 key topics:

The presentation slides can be downloaded in the above link.

This page provides a record of the points discussed, and we hope it will serve to facilitate and profile our community’s views at ICANN, leveraging on these points. We welcome any further comments on this page.  

We hope to conduct another update session on the sidelines of other regional events in the future, and welcome suggestions on where these types of sessions can be held as well.

Universal Acceptance

Brief: Constraints imposed in software on what is allowed as a valid domain name (such as limiting domains to specific endings like ".com", or incompatibility with Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs)) are artificially constraining the growth and utility of the Internet. Rejection of some TLD strings due to outdated length parameters or other erroneous formatting criteria can be avoided by reliance on authoritative information. This is not an ICANN-only problem; cooperation among registry operators, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), software developers, vendors, and others who deal with domain names on a regular basis is critical to ensuring the continued realization of the Internet's potential for commerce and communications. 

As a member of the global Internet Ecosystem, we would like to explore how the Asia Pacific community can work together to address these issues of Universal Acceptance together with ICANN.

Key points highlighted by the community participants include:

ICANN and community advocacy for Universal Acceptance

Under-representation of other language communities

Initiatives going forward

Universal Acceptance at ICANN49

Internationalised Domain Name (IDN) Variants

 Brief: Some character sets (such as Chinese, Arabic, Tamil) have IDN Variant TLDs. A potential example is: ".顶级域名" vs ".頂級域名". To support IDN variants in the root zone, ICANN and the ICANN community undertook several projects to study and make recommendations on their viability, sustainability and delegation. We are now more than two years into the project and are in the third phase of the IDN Variant TLD Program. One of the current projects is the "Implementation of the Label Generation Ruleset Procedure (Project 2.2)” which looks at the development of the Label Generation Rules (LGR) for Internationalised Domain Name in Applications (IDNA) Labels for the Root Zone. The work being carried out involves a set of Generation Panels, each for a specific script, an Integration Panel to integrate the work of the Generation Panels, and a set of Advisors to all Panels.

This session covered the Call for Generation Panels to develop Root Zone LGRs and how our community in the Asia Pacific region can lend their expertise to the IDN Variant TLD Program.

Key points highlighted by the community participants include:

Language General Panel work

Engagement approach on IDN Variants

Getting started in ICANN


Refining and replacing WHOIS

Brief: In December 2012 ICANN’s CEO convened an Expert Working Group (EWG) to help explore how the well-established WHOIS system – which enables global public access to gTLD domain name registration data – can be improved and possibly replaced by a “next generation” solution that would better serve the needs of a changing Internet community. Other efforts are underway at ICANN to analyze and implement changes to specific aspects of WHOIS, including the development of a formal accreditation program for privacy and proxy registration service providers and possible standardization for the translation and transliteration of WHOIS contact information.

Beyond ICANN, the global technical community has been working to replace and update the longstanding WHOIS protocol, including through the proposed new WEIRDS (Web Extensible Internet Registration Data Service) from the IETF. All of these efforts share a common recognition of the inadequacies of WHOIS, including its inability to fully deal with IDN and other issues involving non-Latin scripts.

The session sought the participants’ feedback on how ICANN’s current policy efforts can result in an improved WHOIS experience for the Asia Pacific community.

Key points highlighted by the community participants include:

New gTLD update

Brief: ICANN’s new gTLD Program was launched in January 2012 and attracted over 1900 applications. As of late January 2014, over 100 new strings have been delegated into the root zone, to join the incumbent list of 22 gTLDs, ushering in the most massive transformation of the domain name system in the history of the Internet. Of the new gTLD applications, ICANN received 116 applications for IDNs in a total of 12 scripts; and the first 4 new gTLDs approved for delegation were all IDNs – in Arabic, Chinese and Russian. As more new gTLDs are approved and delegated, potential registrants will have to navigate multiple “sunrise” and “landrush” periods before each new gTLD is finally released by its registry operator for general availability. The first general release of new gTLDs took place in late January 2014.

The session provided updates on the new gTLD programme, as well as links to further information (see presentation slides in the link at the top of the page).


Wrap up

In sum, we noted the following: