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Old 9th January 2022, 06:04 PM
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Hello World- Enabling IDN Names ICANN blog

from June 2021
Sarmad Hussain, Sr Director IDN & UA Programs
For more than two decades, the technical community, ICANN, and volunteers around the world have been working together to internationalize the Domain Name System (DNS) to promote linguistic diversity on the Internet. Initially, this work has focused on the introduction of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) at the second level and eventually for top-level domains (TLDs). This has included the New Generic TLD (gTLD) Program, the largest expansion of the DNS to date as well as IDN country code TLDs (ccTLDs), making it possible for people around the world to connect with their communities through domain names in local languages and scripts such as Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, and Devanagari.

When we talk about supporting a global Internet, it's important to remember that the majority of the world does not speak English as a first language. IDNs are a good example of how ICANN, with the guidance of the community, is working to support an inclusive and multilingual Internet. This aligns with ICANN's mission to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet.

Where are we today? The short answer is that there has been good progress toward building and maintaining a DNS that can support linguistically diverse domain names in a safe and secure manner. These advancements are due to work done by community members, technical organizations (e.g., Internet Engineering Task Force), and ICANN, amongst others.

As background, the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) format is used to connect using the Internet's DNS. ASCII uses numeric codes to represent characters including uppercase and lowercase English letters, numbers, and some symbols (e.g., punctuation marks), but languages using additional characters and other scripts are not supported with ASCII.

By allowing users to access the Internet in their chosen online identities and local languages, private sectors, governments, and civil societies have the ability to better serve their communities and take advantage of significant business opportunities.

Are there any other roadblocks to using Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs)?

One of the issues that ICANN, community volunteers, and industry-leading software and email service providers are working to resolve is ensuring the Universal Acceptance (UA) of all domain names and email addresses in all Internet-enabled devices and applications. This will require organizations and businesses to upgrade their systems and services to ensure they will work in the continuously expanding and evolving domain name space. You can learn more about UA at the Universal Acceptance Steering Group's (UASG) website:
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