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 Monday, October 31, 2005

Among achievements at the recent meeting of Study Group 17 was the establishment of a work programme on Internationalized Domain Names (IDN). An IDN expert (rapporteur) was appointed to head the work in the Study Group which takes the lead on security issues in ITU-T. The work follows direct instruction from WTSA, the quadrennial event that defines study areas for ITU-T (WTSA Resolution 48).

IDNs are domain names represented by local language characters. They have the potential to transform the Internet into a truly global and multilingual tool by enabling Internet users to navigate and communicate online in their preferred script. The Study Group rapporteur Andrzej Bartosiewicz said that IDNs are still awaiting broad deployment all over the world. "While IDNs are becoming popular in some countries like Germany, Poland and Japan, other countries are being slow to adopt. ITU as an international organization is seen as potentially the best body to facilitate safe deployment."

Contributions on technical issues had been received before the meeting, giving participants the opportunity to discuss these and the administrative fundamentals of IDNs. The meeting identified key issues to be considered, including the work programme and the action plan for upcoming months.

Study Group chair Herb Bertine said that there are some important security considerations to be taken into account in the study of IDN. For example he said that unfamiliar characters used may make users believe that they are being directed to one place, when in fact they could be being directed to a site with malicious intent.