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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

ICC issues paper on controversial IDN

Remmy Nweke

Task force on the Internet and Information Technology (IT) services, a commission of the world business organisation under the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), chaired by Allen Miller, has issued a seven-page paper on the Internationalisation of Domain Names (IDNs).

Domains are identification names on the Internet used uniquely for the distinct entities as numbering address such as countries and organisations. For instance, .org is meant for organisations, .edu for education institutions, .com for commercial purposes to name a few.

The paper was in response to recent introduction of Internet domain names in Letters Digits Hyphen (LDH) characters which has been subject of controversy and debate.

The introduction of Internet domain names in LDH characters is a subject of much controversy and debate in recent times. Whereas some contend that it is an almost trivial exercise, others argued that it is a tremendously complex task that, if done too hastily or without the proper planning, would threaten the integrity and stability of the Internet.

As said by the Policy Manager, Commission on Electronic Business, IT and Telecoms & Commission on Marketing and Advertising at ICC, Manuela van der Laan, in order to make the international business community more aware of the facts and challenges surrounding the introduction of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), the Task Force of ICC developed this issues paper proposes the possibility for drafting a policy statement on the subject in the future.

Currently, the Policy Manager said, this paper is not meant as a policy statement and does therefore not refer to any position. Rather, the paper provides an explanation of IDNs and examines a number of the issues surrounding them, such as “What are Internationalized Domain Names? What is the case for Internationalized Domain Names? What are the general issues and concerns? and What are the potential areas of interest for business?”

ICC, therefore, enjoined interested public to make inputs, hence it has circulated this paper to member companies and also to government decision-makers.

ICC international secretariat, the manager noted, distributed the statement widely, targeting relevant international organizations and associations including the European Commission (EC), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries (CENTR), EUROLINC, Internet Governance Forum (IGF), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Internet Society (ISOC), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Multilingual Domain Names Consortium (MINC), major steering actors such as JDNA, JPRS, KRNIC, CDNC, HKNIC, LACNIC, AINC, APNG), Unicode Consortium, WIPO, AfriNIC among others.


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