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Sunday, February 05, 2006


IDN: Who formulates the policy?

Recent ICANN GNSO Council discussions have focused on IDNs, with Sophia Bekele stating: "Giving IDNs priority should be the reason to understand them. There is a saying, "An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.""

This current focus on IDNs by the Council is commendable, but it seems to be occuring in a vacuum as the Council has failed to secure any guidance whatsoever from ICANN's President's Committee on IDNs. This President's Committee is tasked with identifying and proposing solutions to the following main areas:

IDN TLD Challenges:
The committee is tasked with analyzing the challenges relating to the implementation of internationalized top level domains and suggestions towards their resolution.

IDN Technical Development Challenges:

The committee is tasked with providing the ICANN President (and staff) with a list of technical barriers and opportunities to the continued development of IDNs and which the community is expecting ICANN to handle or take part in handling.

IDN Policy Challenges:
The Committee is tasked with developing and providing the ICANN President (and staff) with recommendations on how IDN policy issues should be handled, the use of existing policy development processes, and the definition of specific IDN policy processes.

If a group of experts has been charged with developing appropriate IDN policy, one would think that the Council would first gather the benefit of the policy guidance being developed before rushing in to an area wherein only a few of the Councillors have expertise. Ultimately it prompts the question: which group, the ICANN GNSO Council or the ICANN President's Committee on IDN, will be responsible for policy development in this area?

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