Icann works on going global

Members of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) gave a sweeping array of views on their work on...

Members of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) gave a sweeping array of views on their work on internet-related issues during a conference taking place in Rio de Janeiro this week.

The meeting, which finishes tomorrow, is the last for outgoing Icann president Stuart Lynn, who has headed the organisation since March 2001. Lynn officially steps down tomorrow, passing his mantle to Australian Paul Twomey.

Icann, which oversees technical issues related to the internet address system, has been criticised almost since its inception in 1998 for inefficiency. Lynn laid out his vision for the organisation's reform last year, seeking to create what he has called "Icann 2.0" - a more responsive and agile agency.

Yesterday Twomey said that his short-term priority would be to ensure that the reforms headed by Lynn took place.

Other priorities cited by the incoming president included creating top-level domains (TLDs) in other languages, improving the Whois database and consulting the internet community about the adoption of standards.

The group is set to discuss the adoption of incorporating other languages into the domain name system this afternoon.

Vinton Cerf, chairman of the group's board of directors, said that while the internet is already able to handle scripts from all over the world in its content pages, work needs to be done on supporting these scripts in the address field.

Icann is also slated to continue discussing the possibility of creating new TLDs, but Lynn downplayed assertions that there was a widespread demand for them.

"I don't want you to think that it's a given that everyone believes there should be more TLDs. That's a controversial and interesting question," Lynn said, noting that there were a "considerable number of problems" the last time the group introduced new TLDs.

More details on Icann's meeting in Brazil can be found at http://www.icann.org.

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