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 Thursday, March 25, 2010

Four countries and two territories have won preliminary approval to have Internet addresses written entirely in their native scripts as early as this summer.

Rules are being developed to make sure that addresses in either script go to the same Web sites. Since their creation in the 1980s, Internet domain names such as those that end in ".com" have been limited to 37 characters: the 10 numerals, the hyphen and the 26 letters in the Latin alphabet used in English. Technical tricks have been used to allow portions of the Internet address to use other scripts, but until now, the suffix had to use those 37 characters.

 

(Source: AP)

Full story

AP

Thursday, March 25, 2010 4:34:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The first applications were accepted on Monday for internationalised domain names (IDNs), in one of the most significant steps to making the Internet more accessible around the globe.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has opened the application process, ending the exclusive use of Latin characters for website addresses. On the first day, "we have already received six applications from around the world for three different scripts," ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom told an Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

 

(Source: AFP)

Full story

AFP

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 10:10:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Nearly a decade after it introduced a program to internationalize domain names, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is expected to take another step on Friday. ICANN, during its annual meeting in Seoul, Korea, will vote on the internationalized domain names (IDN) initiative, better known as the Fast Track.

"In Seoul, we plan to move forward to the next step in the internationalization of the Internet, which means that eventually people from every corner of the globe will be able to navigate much of the online world using their native language scripts," said Rod Beckstrom, ICANN's CEO.

 

(Source: NewsFactor)

Full story

NewsFactor 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 11:54:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 01, 2007

A report released by the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages in Oregon talks about the alarming rate of extinction of the world's languages. "While half of all languages have gone extinct in the last 500 years, the half-life is dropping: half of the 7,000 languages spoken today won't exist by the year 2100," according to Slashdot. The NY Times, on its article Languages Die, but Not Their Last Words, adds that "83 languages with 'global' influence are spoken and written by 80 percent of the world population. Most of the others face extinction at a rate, the researchers said, that exceeds that of birds, mammals, fish and plants."

Read Languages Racing to Extinction in 5 Global "Hotspots" further here.
Continue reading the NY Times article on language extinction here.

Monday, October 01, 2007 2:05:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 28, 2007

ICANN finalized on 23 August 2007 the IDN .test Evaluation Plan and is currently moving forward towards the insertion of IDN strings in the root zone. These IDN TLDs are the word "test" translated into eleven languages including: Arabic, Persian, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Russian, Hindi, Greek, Korean, Yiddish, Japanese and Tamil. The delegation of these TLDs and the evaluations, as described in the plan, is expected to commence in September 2007.

The plan has been modified based on comments received on the IDN public forum and also from consultations with ICANN Technical Advisory Committees. The last version was approved by the ICANN Board at their 14 August 2007 meeting, and the resolution directs ICANN Staff to implement the IDN .test Evaluation Plan, and report back to the ICANN Board following the conclusion of the evaluation.

Keep updated on the progress of this project by visiting http://icann.org/topics/idn.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 8:34:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 07, 2007

The ICT Applications and Cybersecurity Division Internet Multilingualization website is now available.

Thursday, June 07, 2007 6:06:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, October 21, 2006

The first meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will be held in Athens, Greece from 30 October - 2 November 2006.

The current programme is available here.

A couple of related websites have been unveiled:

CircleID has a related article asking What Will Be the Outcome of the Internet Governance Forum Meeting in Athens?

Saturday, October 21, 2006 8:28:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 07, 2006

A recent APDIP e-Note goes into the discussion of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) and Internet Governance.

As the number of non-English speakers on the Internet grows exponentially, the limitations of the Domain Name System have become evident to many.

The APDIP e-Note examines "how IDNs relate to cultural diversity and the basic human right to communicate in one's own language on the Internet. While the bulk of the content on the Internet has been in English, this is rapidly changing. In China, for example, over 60 million of the nation's 100 million-plus users browse the web only in Chinese, yet top-level domain names remain in Roman script for all users. The APDIP e-Note further discusses the ongoing debate on how best to allow users to navigate the Internet in their own language. Different systems available for multilingual domain names and future scenarios are also explored.

Download the full APDIP e-Note.
View other APDIP e-Resources here.

The Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP) is an initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that aims to promote the development and application of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for sustainable human development in the Asia-Pacific region.

Thursday, September 07, 2006 11:53:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 28, 2006

Study Group 17 (Security, languages and telecommunication software) has been instructed by Resolution 48 of the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (Florianópolis, 2004) to study Internationalized Domain Names (IDN). It is considered that implementation of IDN will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not represented in IRA (International Reference Alphabet) characters.

To meet this obligation, Study Group 17 developed new Question 16, Internationalized Domain Names tasked in particular to investigate all relevant issues in the field of IDN. The mandate for Question 16 is available on the Study Group 17 website.

Question 16 was approved at the April 2006 Study Group 17 meeting in Jeju, Korea. At this meeting Question 16 drafted a questionnaire for a Circular to Member States, requesting information on their experiences in the use of IDN. TSB Circular 96 was issued on 31 May 2006.

The ITU-T has unveiled an IDN resource site to share information on work progress, achievements and acquired knowledge in the field of IDN. It includes an introduction to IDN, information about related events, standards materials, news, information on national and other IDN developments and a FAQ.

[via the ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, July 28, 2006 10:49:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Secretary-General of the United Nations has announced the convening of the Internet Governance Forum, to be held in Athens on 30 October - 2 November 2006.

The Secretary-General's message is available in all UN languages: [English] [Français] [中文] [عربي] [Русский] [Español]. The message in English reads:

"The second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held in Tunis on 13-15 November 2005, invited me to convene a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue -- called the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The Summit asked me to convene the Forum by the second quarter of 2006 and to implement this mandate in an open and inclusive process.

The Government of Greece made the generous offer to host the first meeting of the IGF and proposed that it take place in Athens on 30 October - 2 November 2006.

I have asked my Special Adviser for Internet Governance, Mr. Nitin Desai, to assist me in the task of convening the IGF and I have also set up a small secretariat in Geneva to support this process. Two rounds of consultations open to all stakeholders held in Geneva on 16-17 February and 19 May have contributed towards a common understanding with regard to the format and content of the first IGF meeting. I have also appointed an Advisory Group with the task of assisting me in preparing the IGF meeting.

The Advisory Group held a meeting in Geneva on 22 and 23 May 2006 and made recommendations for the agenda and the programme, as well as the structure and format of the first meeting of the IGF in Athens.

As the IGF is about the Internet, it is appropriate to make use of electronic means of communication to convene its inaugural meeting. The document adopted by WSIS -- the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society -- calls on me "to extend invitations to all stakeholders and relevant parties to participate at the inaugural meeting of the IGF". Therefore, it is my pleasure to make use of the World Wide Web to invite all stakeholders -- governments, the private sector and civil society, including the academic and technical communities, to attend the first meeting of the IGF in Athens. The overall theme of the meeting will be "Internet Governance for Development". The agenda will be structured along the following broad themes.

  • Openness - Freedom of expression, free flow of information, ideas and knowledge
  • Security - Creating trust and confidence through collaboration
  • Diversity - Promoting multilingualism and local content
  • Access - Internet Connectivity: Policy and Cost

Capacity-building will be a cross-cutting priority.

The meeting will be open for all WSIS accredited entities. Other institutions and persons with proven expertise and experience in matters related to Internet governance may also apply to attend.

In its short life, the Internet has become an agent of dramatic, even revolutionary change and maybe one of today's greatest instruments of progress. It is a marvelous tool to promote and defend freedom and to give access to information and knowledge. WSIS saw the beginning of a dialogue between two different cultures: the non-governmental Internet community, with its traditions of informal, bottom-up decision-making; and the more formal, structured world of governments and intergovernmental organizations. It is my hope that the IGF will deepen this dialogue and contribute to a better understanding of how we can make full use of the potential the Internet has to offer for all people in the world.

(Signed) Kofi A. Annan" 

[via the Internet Governance Forum]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 10:46:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 16, 2006

A revamp of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) website is being tested.

Friday, June 16, 2006 4:39:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 01, 2006

Study Group 17 Questionnaire on information about experiences on the use of IDN

"The World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (Florianópolis, 2004) in Resolution 48 instructed Study Group 17 (Security, languages and telecommunication software) to study Internationalized Domain Names (IDN).  The belief is that IDN implementation will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not represented in ASCII characters.

To assist this plan, Question 16/17 (Internationalized Domain Names) has been brought into being and tasked with investigating all relevant issues in the field of IDNs.

To recognize national, regional and international issues concerning IDNs, Study Group 17 prepared a questionnaire (see Annex 1) on information about experiences on the use of IDNs.

The objective of this questionnaire is to collect information and experiences on Internationalized Domain Names under ccTLD (country code Top Level Domain) around the globe. This will help identify Member States’ needs and practices concerning this subject. This information will serve to prepare a report on the implementation of IDNs and facilitate future work on IDN within Study Group 17.

If there are two or more ccTLDs in the responder's Member State, please complete separate answer sheets for each, unless they have exactly the same answers.

If the Member State is not responsible for the ccTLD, please forward the questionnaire to the concerned body."

Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:25:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Continued Transition of the Technical Coordination and Management of the Internet Domain Name and Addressing System

SUMMARY: The United States Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) seeks comment on the continuation of the transition of the technical coordination and management of the Internet domain name and addressing system (Internet DNS) to the private sector. In June 1998, the Department issued a statement of policy on the privatization of the Internet DNS, which among other things articulated four primary functions for global Internet DNS coordination and management, the need to have these functions performed by the private sector and four principles to guide the transition to private sector management of the Internet DNS. On June 30, 2005, NTIA released the U.S. Principles on the Internet’s Domain Name and Addressing System further elaborating on these issues. The Department of Commerce seeks comment regarding the progress of this transition and announces a public meeting to be held on July 26, 2006, to discuss issues associated with this transition.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 4:18:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 22, 2006

The US Department of Commerce has announced that it intends to renew the IANA contract for up to 5 years with ICANN. Also see this Washington Post article and the official presolicitation notice.

Monday, May 22, 2006 11:26:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Cooperative Domain Service (CoDoNS) by Venugopalan Ramasubramanian and Emin Gün Sirer.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 4:53:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Now underway is the ITU/UNESCO Global Symposium on Promoting the Multilingual Internet which is a follow-up to Phase 2 of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, adopted at the Tunis Phase of WSIS, highlights the importance of multilingualism for bridging the digital divide. It identifies ITU as taking the lead role in the implementation of information and communication infrastructure (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C2), ITU/UNESCO for access to information and knowledge (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C3), and UNESCO for cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C8).

The event is being audiocast live in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. The programme is available here and contains links to all the presentations and speaker biographies.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 9:59:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 04, 2006

At a recent Study Group 17 (SG17) meeting in Korea, SG17 gave final approval to a Question on Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) that provides direction and focus to ongoing work.

The news comes as ITU makes final preparations for the Global Symposium on Promoting the Multilingual Internet, it is convening together with UNESCO, 9-11 May 2006.

ITU-T was mandated to work on IDN at the 2004 World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly in Brazil. IDN will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not represented in ASCII characters.

Andrzej Bartosiewicz, representing Poland and acting as Rapporteur for IDNs said: “We have received a number of contributions in this area and have been impressed with the level of interest and the productive nature of discussions. There are a number of organizations working in the field and I believe coordination will be an important focus of any work. The upcoming workshop will be a particularly useful tool for facilitating networking between experts in the field and furthering the study in general.”

Bartosiewicz said that a webpage will be published shortly with news on ITU-T study in the area, as well as related events and technical documents. An official 'circular letter' will be sent sent to Member States he said, requesting information about their experiences on the use of IDN. Given the response to this communication SG 17 will be able to better assess the current situation and needs.

[via the ITU-T Newslog]

Thursday, May 04, 2006 10:49:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 01, 2006
 Friday, April 28, 2006

In a press release, the European Commission has indicated its views on follow-up to the international policy commitments made at WSIS:

To keep up the momentum of the successful World Summit on Information Society (Tunis, 16-18 November 2005), the European Commission has set out today its priorities for implementing the international policy commitments made at the Summit. These priorities include safeguarding and strengthening human rights, in particular the freedom to receive and access information. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) should be used to contribute to open democratic societies and to economic and social progress worldwide. The Commission calls for continuing international talks to improve Internet governance through the two new processes created by the Summit: the multi-stakeholder Internet Governance Forum and the mechanism of enhanced cooperation that will involve all governments on an equal footing.

The EC has also issued a FAQ on Internet Governance.

Friday, April 28, 2006 11:01:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 09, 2006

ITU and UNESCO are organizing a Global Symposium on Promoting the Multilingual Internet in Geneva from 9 - 11 May 2006.

Participation in the meeting is open to any organization or individual from ITU or UNESCO member countries. Written contributions are invited on the themes of the event and should be sent to multilingual (at) itu.int before Tuesday 25 April 2006.

The Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, adopted at the Tunis Phase of WSIS, highlights the importance of multilingualism for bridging the digital divide. It identifies ITU as taking the lead role in the implementation of information and communication infrastructure (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C2), ITU/UNESCO for access to information and knowledge (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C3), and UNESCO for cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C8).

The symposium will examine issues highlighted in paragraph 53 of the WSIS Tunis Agenda, including:

  1. Options for advancing the process for the introduction of multilingualism in a number of areas including domain names, email addresses and keyword look-up; 
  2. Options for implementing programmes, also in cooperation with other appropriate organizations, that allow for the presence of multilingual domain names and content on the internet and the use of various software models in order to fight against the linguistic digital divide and ensure the participation of all in the emerging new society;
  3. Options for strengthening cooperation between relevant bodies for the further development of technical standards and to foster their global deployment; In addition, the event will review technical solutions and current experiences, identify open issues and discuss a roadmap for further steps in the direction of promoting internet multilingualism.

The draft agenda of the symposium, background information and other information are available on the event website.

Thursday, March 09, 2006 11:14:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 28, 2006

This publication, with a foreword by Nitin Desai, provides an overview of the key debates on Internet governance. It presents the work of the Open Regional Dialogue on Internet Governance, an Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP) initiative that has collected perspectives from regional experts and end users.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 11:21:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 24, 2006

  The Golden Book — a record of work undertaken to implement the goas of the World Summit on the Information Society and build the future Information Society — was launched on 24 February 2006 during the Consultation Meeting of WSIS Action Lines Facilitators/Moderators, convened by ITU, UNESCO and UNDP in Geneva.

This Golden Book highlights some of the valuable work being done around the world to promote ICTs in projects, large and small, by governments, individuals or team effort, for the benefit of all. It provides illustrative examples of new and innovative projects to build infrastructure, promote ICTs in education, health and governance, ensure fair access and enhance online security.

The Golden Book has been published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as a permanent record of the new commitments and resources pledged by stakeholders during the Tunis Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). All WSIS stakeholders at the Summit were invited to submit an online questionnaire with details of their activities announced during the Tunis Phase. These activities have been planned or are already being undertaken to implement the WSIS Plan of Action. The Golden Book also serves as a tool helping to coordinate the action taken to implement the 11 Action lines and avoid duplication.

More than 375 submissions were made to the Golden Book by governments, international organizations, NGOs, companies and individuals, describing their work towards promoting ICT activities. ITU estimates that the activities announced during the Tunis Phase to promote WSIS goals represented a total value of at least € 3.2 billion (US$ 3.9 billion). Governments committed to implement projects for some € 1.9 billion, representing nearly two-thirds of estimated total value of all commitments, while international organizations pledged to carry out activities for around half that amount, i.e. 0.83 billion Euros. Business entities announced plans to realize projects for around 0.35 billion Euros and civil society projects amount to least 0.13 billion Euros.

Amount of financial commitments by stakeholder

Breakdown by anticipated expenditure

For more information on the Golden Book, please see here.

Friday, February 24, 2006 6:22:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Via Schneier on Security comes a pointer to an interesting paper entitled Introduction to Petname Systems.

Zooko's Triangle [Zooko] argues that names cannot be global, secure, and memorable, all at the same time. Domain names are an example: they are global, and memorable, but as the rapid rise of phishing demonstrates, they are not secure.

For background reading, see Zooko: Names: Decentralized, Secure, Human-Meaningful: Choose Two, Waterken YURL: Naming vs. Pointing and the Petnames Markup Language.

To summarize, you cannot have a namespace which is all three of: 1. decentralized (which is the same as saying that the namespace spans trust boundaries), 2. secure in the sense that an attacker cannot cause name lookups to return incorrect values that violate some universal policy of name ownership, and 3. using human-memorizable keys.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 8:17:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, February 04, 2006

The beta of Internet Explorer 7 handles internationalized domain names in an interesting method to mitigate what is known as homographic spoofing.

When attempting to read a web address with non-standard characters, it blocks the action and puts up a dialogue box asking whether the user would like to specifically add the language (actually the corresponding script) as valid.

The same dialogue box allows the user to specify a locale specific suffix that will be entered with a key combination.

Saturday, February 04, 2006 9:13:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 16, 2006

Two recent articles on the growing influence of national governments over the internet.

  1. Legal Affairs has just published Digital Borders By Jack Goldsmith and Timothy Wu. The article is an excerpt from the book Who Controls the Internet?: Illusions of a Borderless World

In this provocative new book, Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu tell the fascinating story of the Internet's challenge to governmental rule in the 1990s, and the ensuing battles with governments around the world. It's a book about the fate of one idea--that the Internet might liberate us forever from government, borders, and even our physical selves. We learn of Google's struggles with the French government and Yahoo's capitulation to the Chinese regime; of how the European Union sets privacy standards on the Net for the entire world; and of eBay's struggles with fraud and how it slowly learned to trust the FBI. In a decade of events the original vision is uprooted, as governments time and time again assert their power to direct the future of the Internet. The destiny of the Internet over the next decades, argue Goldsmith and Wu, will reflect the interests of powerful nations and the conflicts within and between them.

While acknowledging the many attractions of the earliest visions of the Internet, the authors describe the new order, and speaking to both its surprising virtues and unavoidable vices. Far from destroying the Internet, the experience of the last decade has lead to a quiet rediscovery of some of the oldest functions and justifications for territorial government. While territorial governments have unavoidable problems, it has proven hard to replace what legitimacy governments have, and harder yet to replace the system of rule of law that controls the unchecked evils of anarchy. While the Net will change some of the ways that territorial states govern, it will not diminish the oldest and most fundamental roles of government and challenges of governance.

  1. First Monday has published The filtering matrix: Integrated mechanisms of information control and the demarcation of borders in cyberspace by Nart Villeneuve.

Increasingly, states are adopting practices aimed at regulating and controlling the Internet as it passes through their borders. Seeking to assert information sovereignty over their cyber–territory, governments are implementing Internet content filtering technology at the national level. The implementation of national filtering is most often conducted in secrecy and lacks openness, transparency, and accountability. Policy–makers are seemingly unaware of significant unintended consequences, such as the locking of content that was never intended to be blocked. Once a national filtering system is in place, governments may be tempted to use it as a tool of political censorship or as a technological "quick fix" to problems that stem from larger social and political issues. As non–transparent filtering practices meld into forms of censorship the effect on democratic practices and the open character of the Internet are discernible. States are increasingly using Internet filtering to control the environment of political speech in fundamental opposition to civil liberties, freedom of speech, and free expression. The consequences of political filtering directly impact democratic practices and can be considered a violation of human rights.

Monday, January 16, 2006 9:19:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 11, 2006

At the second phase of WSIS in Tunis, the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society called for the establishment of an Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in paragraphs 72 - 79. The first meeting of the IGF will take place in Greece in 2006.

The first consultations on the convening of the IGF will take place in Geneva, Switzerland on 16 and 17 February 2006. The meeting will take place at the United Nations and be chaired by Mr Nitin Desai, the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser for WSIS, who will assist the Secretary-General in preparing the convening of the IGF. Additional information can be found at www.intgovforum.org.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 12:48:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The WSIS Stocktaking Report has been officially launched during the World Summit on the Infrmation Society in Tunis. The report has been prepared on the basis of activities entered to the WSIS Stocktaking Database that by November 2005 contained more then 2500 entries. 

For the launch presentation see Stocktaking.pdf (1.47 MB).

For the WSIS Stocktaking Database see here

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:50:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Warren New's Washington Internet Daily is reporting on the recent ITU-T Study Group 17 meeting activities that related to IDN and countering spam: 

Facilitating internationalized domain names and new measures to counter spam via technical means are part of an ITU push to meet member states' demands for more security standardization.

Last Oct.'s World Telecom Standardization Assembly in Brazil added 2 work items to the agenda of the group, called ITU-T SG-17: The first is to study IDNs, which raise a major security issue because "some national characters can make a user think he is going to one place, but really going to another place," said Herbert Bertine of Lucent, chmn. of SG-17: "We are looking to make sure that when you use internationalized domain names, the possibility that users can be confused, misdirected," will be reduced.

"The belief is that IDN implementation will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not yet represented in ASCII characters," documents said. Andrzej Bartosiewicz, head of the DNS Div. at Poland's NASK has been named the group's reporting member on IDNs. The SG will assess ITU members' needs in light of existing standards, he said.

SG-17 has seen "an enormous increase [of work] in the area of security," said Bertine. SG-17 published 5 security recommendations in the last 4-year study period, which ended late in 2004. Bertine said the SG may produce 15-20 during the next period, but said much of the work is in its infancy.

Countering spam by technical means is a new security area for SG-17. Spam has policy, regulatory, legal and technical aspects, but the SG will address the technical side of spam fighting. "A lot of work has been done by IETF," said Bertine. "There's a lot of [standards] material out there. We don't want to duplicate work. We want to leverage and reference" what's other standards bodies have done and fill gaps, said Bertine, "but we have a lot of countries -- particularly developing countries -- who are really looking for the ITU to provide this information."

How spammers do what they do is under consideration; but more important is that spam is not only unwanted e- mail but now a vehicle for viruses and other malware, said Bertine.

SG 17 is working with the ISO/IEC (the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission) on new to be designated as the 27,000 series and dealing with information security management systems, officials said. Bertine thinks the new series will result in companies finding that "it's in their best interest to be certified, whether it means better insurance rates, less liability because you can claim conformance... plus the most fundamental, if you've got vulnerabilities, you sure want to catch them because it's going to cost you a pile of money if somebody discovers a major weakness."

"The field of information technology and the field of communications continue to overlap and merge more and more every year. That's why collaboration is so important," said Bertine.

At this meeting it was also decide to adopt OASIS' Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and Extensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML) into ITU-T standards.

A list of documents from the last meeting of SG-17 is available here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 8:58:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 11, 2005

News from the wonderful world of the directories (PowerPoint) presented to ITU-T Study Group 17 by Erik Andersen, Denmark gives an update on:

  • X.500/LDAP X.500 enhancements
    • Concept of Friends
    • Attributes
    • Paging on the DSP
    • Maximum alignment with LDAP
    • Enhancements to Public-key and Attribute certificates
  • Enhancements to ITU-T Rec. E.115 (2005) Computerized Directory Assistance 
    • OSI stack removed
    • Home grown TCP/IP support integrated in text
    • Specifies two versions of the protocol
    • Version 1:
      • The 1995 edition + all agreed extensions
      • All keywords specified in Annex
      • Complete rewrite and restructuring of 1995 edition
      • Added clarifications ASN.1 BER encoding
      • Support mandatory
    • Version 2:
      • Keywords replaced by new fields – keyword concept no longer used
      • Several new enhancements
      • ASN.1 BER and XML (or ASN.1 XER) encoding
      • Future extensions using ITU-T procedure
Tuesday, October 11, 2005 12:50:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 06, 2005

Links to documents from WSIS Prepcom-3 (19-30 September 2005) Sub-Committee A, which dealt with the topic of Internet Governance, can be found on the WSIS website. The key documents from Prepcom-3 include:

According to the Report of the Work of Sub-Committee A, in order to complete the work in time for the Summit, document DT/10 Rev. 4 is offered as basis for further negotiations. The following documents elaborated during PrepCom-3 are offered as a further input to future negotiations:

Thursday, October 06, 2005 5:02:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 28, 2005

PrepCom-3 Highlights: 26-27 September 2005

Internet governance discussions kicked off this morning with delegations getting down to the business of drafting text that will eventually become part of the outcome documents of November’s World Summit.

PrepCom-3 Highlights: 28 September 2005

The European Union signaled a radical shift of position on its support for maintaining the Internet governance status quo, tabling a bold new document (Word) on Wednesday night that proposed a new public-private governance model, including an international multi-stakeholder forum.

Taking the floor half-way through Wednesday evening’s meeting of Sub-Committee A, the UK delegate’s placid delivery belied the ground-shaking import of the proposal, which represented a clear departure from the “status quo” camp led by the US.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 6:58:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 23, 2005

Highlights from the discussions at WSIS Prepcom-3 19-21 September 2005 can be found here.

Friday, September 23, 2005 8:42:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 22, 2005

From TPRC 2005: DNSSEC and Hardening Security in the Internet Infrastructure: The Public Policy Questions by Amy Friedlander, Stephen Crocker, Allison Mankin, W. Douglas Maughan, Douglas Montgomery, Shinkuro Inc.

This is a paper from the practitioner community. We are engaged in an effort to strengthen security in the Internet infrastructure. Our immediate task is to deploy a new Internet protocol, DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC), which promises to harden features of the Domain Name System (DNS), a key element in the infrastructure of the Internet. In our work, we find ourselves at the intersection of the following questions:

  1. How do we stimulate innovation in infrastructure services when those services are provided in a competitive, largely private commercial environment and the returns are likely to occur in the long term and will also be shared?
  2. What is the appropriate role of government in fostering infrastructure development when we are committed to largely privately-owned and operated infrastructure facilities and services?
  3. What is the balance among national and homeland security interests and global Internet management - or governance?
Thursday, September 22, 2005 2:55:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The video archives (Real Video) of yesterday's (20 September 2005) opening discussions on Internet governance in WSIS Prepcom-3 Sub-Committee A which is handling Internet Governance have been made available. They are available in English and in the original language from the Floor.

Access to the all real-time Prepcom-3 streams and archives can be found here.

Update: The archives of the 21 September 2005 discussions on Internet Governance in Sub-Committee A can be found here in English and in the original language from the Floor.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 8:30:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 02, 2005
 Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The mozilla.org team has announced changes to Firefox regarding Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) to deal with homograph spoofing attacks.

  • "We have implemented a TLD whitelist system, which currently contains 21 TLDs for which we correctly display IDN domain names in the UI (user interface). Any IDN domain name in a non-whitelisted TLD displays as punycode. This is a security feature and so there is no user interface for adding or removing TLDs.
  • Any registry which wishes to be added to the whitelist should follow the instructions on that page. In terms of what constitutes a homograph, we are being guided by the Unicode Consortium's confusables list at http://www.unicode.org/draft/reports/tr36/data/confusables.txt and by common sense. Our policy in this area is still somewhat in flux - in particular, we are not yet sure whether we should require that registries to consider two characters which differ only in accent (sometimes by the shade of a single pixel at normal font sizes) as homographic. In the mean time, we strongly advise that registries do this.
  • We have implemented a character blacklist, which will soon contain 'DIVISION SLASH' (U+2215) and 'FRACTION SLASH' (U+2044). After that, we may extend it to forbid more characters which may be used to spoof URL punctuation. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=301694
  • This is not meant to prejudice the outcome of the current IAB-IDN discussions on potentially reducing the number of characters permitted in IDN, but we feel the danger posed by the use of such characters in 3rd and 4th level domains is great enough to require an immediate ban. Any domain name which contains one or more of these characters displays as punycode.
  • We wish to thank Opera Software for their help in creating the initial whitelist and providing suggestions for the character blacklist."
Tuesday, July 26, 2005 11:32:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 30, 2005

The US government has released a significant evolution in its policy stance in a newly released U.S. Principles on the Internet’s Domain Name and Addressing System in the run-up to the second phase of WSIS in Tunis and the upcoming release of the Working Group on Internet Governance's report on Internet Governance.

  • The United States Government intends to preserve the security and stability of the Internet’s Domain Name and Addressing System (DNS).  Given the Internet's importance to the world’s economy, it is essential that the underlying DNS of the Internet remain stable and secure.  As such, the United States is committed to taking no action that would have the potential to adversely impact the effective and efficient operation of the DNS and will therefore maintain its historic role in authorizing changes or modifications to the authoritative root zone file.
  • Governments have legitimate interest in the management of their country code top level domains (ccTLD).  The United States recognizes that governments have legitimate public policy and sovereignty concerns with respect to the management of their ccTLD.  As such, the United States is committed to working with the international community to address these concerns, bearing in mind the fundamental need to ensure stability and security of the Internet’s DNS.
  • ICANN is the appropriate technical manager of the Internet DNS.  The United States continues to support the ongoing work of ICANN as the technical manager of the DNS and related technical operations and recognizes the progress it has made to date.  The United States will continue to provide oversight so that ICANN maintains its focus and meets its core technical mission.
  • Dialogue related to Internet governance should continue in relevant multiple fora.  Given the breadth of topics potentially encompassed under the rubric of Internet governance there is no one venue to appropriately address the subject in its entirety.  While the United States recognizes that the current Internet system is working, we encourage an ongoing dialogue with all stakeholders around the world in the various fora as a way to facilitate discussion and to advance our shared interest in the ongoing robustness and dynamism of the Internet.  In these fora, the United States will continue to support market-based approaches and private sector leadership in Internet development broadly.

A corresponding news article from AP is U.S. Won't Cede Control of Net Computers.

Thursday, June 30, 2005 10:54:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 03, 2005

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has recommended the introduction of a uniform intellectual property (IP) protection mechanism designed to further curb unauthorized registration of domain names in all new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs). This came in a report by WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center (WIPO Center) on the IP implications of introducing additional generic Top-Level Domains (new gTLDs). The report, "New Generic Top-Level Domains: Intellectual Property Considerations", which is available at http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/reports/newgtld-ip, said that such a preventive mechanism would complement the curative relief provided by the existing Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

Friday, June 03, 2005 11:57:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) is discussing how to improve current Internet governance arrangements in order to bring them more in line with the WSIS principles. In the light of these discussions, this questionnaire has been developed to allow for a structured feed-back. 

The WGIG has also opened a public discussion forum with instructions on how to use the associated Plone software.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 4:34:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 19, 2005
The Working Group on Internet Governance opened its third meeting yesterday at the United Nations in Geneva. Output of the real-time captioning for the Open Consultations held on April 18 2005 are available [morning session] and [afternoon session] on the WGIG website.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005 8:09:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Recently ITU-T Study Group 2 (SG2) determined a a new draft Recommendation to clarify the management of the top level domain “.int”. The draft Recommendation (Word), named E.int (Word) is now considered stable and will be sent to the ITU membership. Unless comments are received, it would be expected to be approved at the December 2005 meeting of SG2. The draft Recommendation (Word) also contains a liaison from SG2 which has been transmitted to ICANN.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005 11:39:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The ITU Council Working Group on WSIS held a meeting on 13-14 December 2004 discussing ITU activities relevant to the World Summit on the Information Society. The Working Group is to prepare, based on inputs of ITU Member States and Sector Members, as well as those of the Secretary?General and the Directors of the Bureaux and submit to ITU Council proposals on  necessary ITU actions to help accomplish the goals and objectives articulated in the WSIS Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action.

Some of the input documents to that meeting relate to Internet governance including:

Tuesday, March 01, 2005 11:51:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 19, 2002

The Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT), a regional intergovernmental telecommunication organization, in its preparation of common proposals to the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, 23 September - 18 October 2002, includes a proposal from APT members concerning the Role of Member Administrations in the Management of Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) and Addresses (Word), which would include an instruction to the ITU Secretary-General to promote effectively the role of Member States in the internationalization of domain names and address of their respective languages.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002 7:30:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 05, 2002

The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) started last week its last call for comments on the results of the Internationalized Domain Name working group standardization activities. There are three related Internet drafts:

The thrust of the working group's hotly debated approach is to maintain an underlying ASCII representation, based on using "Punycode": an encoding technique that uniquely and reversibly transforms Unicode (an encoding of the world's language scripts) into ASCII strings. For an overview on why this particular approach was taken and how it works, see the ITU's briefing paper from its December 2001 joint seminar with WIPO on multilingual domain names. It should be emphasized that even when a technical standard emerges, it will be the beginning of a very long process. In fact, the policy and coordination issues are likely to be even more daunting than the already contentious technical work. ICANN's IDN committee has produced a related discussion paper but I think if anything, they've greatly underestimated the issues that are likely to arise. Update: It didn't take long to confirm that last statement: see follow-up Chinese Domain Name Consortium Reject IETF Approach.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002 2:31:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |