11/26/2005

ICANN creates advisory committee for foreign-language

Filed under: — By Aviran Mordo @ 12:20 pm

Internet overseeing organisation ICANN has created a new advisory group to cover the complex and controversial of internationalised domain names (IDNs) - domain names in foreign languages.

The new committee comprises three chairs - all ICANN Board members - and 18 experts from the around the world. Its brief will be to “promote co-ordination of IDN-related work that takes place within and outside ICANN’s supporting organisations, committees, and stakeholders”.

The issue of IDNs is one that has dogged ICANN for years and remains a source of tension for the billions of Internet users that do not speak English or use the Western alphabet. Earlier efforts to add IDNs to the existing infrastructure faltered - leading to accusations that the US-led internet was prioritising Western goals over the Internet as a whole.

In response to criticism, ICANN has consistently pointed to the complexity of the task. For example, all layers of the existing internet infrastructure use Western-style ASCII text to communicate with one another. To pull in different alphabets is therefore a system-wide and system-deep issue. Also, many characters are repeated in different languages, creating the potential for clashes across the internet.

The new committee contains experts in all the main non-English languages, as well as industry experts from Cisco, Microsoft, IBM, VeriSign, Afilias and Tucows. It will be expected to: analyse the problem and suggests solutions; produce a list of technical barriers that ICANN will have to handle; and present policy recommendations.

Source: The Register

 

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