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[nc-idn] Summary of IDN related works

Since the establishement of this NC TF several documents have
been published, including very recent IETF draft for encoding.
As far as I know, there are twelve items on the IETF IDN works,
the encoding is the first one on the list, resolved now. 

This summary try to list those documents ... a preamble for a
subsequent work. Actually, how do you see the next steps for this TF ?
I might have forgotten documents, please let me know.

The nc-idn@dnso.org archives are at:


Summary of milestones and documents to date concerning
the IDN subject:

1. The NC IDN TF was set up in the Spring 2001, between 
   Melbourne and Stockholm meetings.

   The initial Term of References for the IDN TF are recalled at
   YJP e-mail, sent on 2nd October 2001:

   The NC IDN TF was provided recently with MINC document, 
   sent by YJP on 29 September 2001 to the council@dnso.org list 
   (word attachement called action plan.doc)
    which title is "MINC Action Plans for 2001 - 2002", cf:

2. Prior to Montevideo, the ICANN Board IDN Committee, Chaired by 
   Masanobu Katoh, published its final report at:
   A short summary gathering its Mission Statement and Executive
   Summary is provided below.

3. In parallel, the IETF IDN WG has been working on several topics
   related to the IDN technical matters:
   James Seng <jseng@pobox.org.sg>
   Marc Blanchet <Marc.Blanchet@viagenie.qc.ca>
   The Internationalized Domain Names IETF idn working group Web site

   The IETF published on 4 Sep 2001 and Internet Draft (expiring 4 Mar 2002)
   related to the ASCII encoding for IDN.
   Apparently the choice of encoding AMC-ACE, seems have a significant
   support within Internet industry. VeriSign took immediate steps
   to convert its current RICE encoding used at the testbed to AMC-ACE,
   with deployment from October 27th, 2001 through November 12th, 2001
   cf: http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/registrars/Arc01/msg01279.html

ICANN Board IDN Committee:

Mission Statement focus on 3 topics:

Consistent with this resolution, the working group will engage 
in a fact-finding effort concerning three clusters of questions:

   1) What are the perceived technical problems raised by 
      internationalized domain names (IDN), what are the possible 
      solutions, and what are the pros and cons relating these 
      possible solutions?

   2) What are the perceived legal and other policy questions 
      raised by IDN, and what are possible solutions?

   3) What IDN activities are actually underway, how extensive 
      are they, and what bearing do they have on the technical 
      and legal issues referenced above?

Work between March and August 2001, 6 moths: 3 surveys, 
interim status report, additionnal comments, and final report:

Executive summary from Final Report:

The ICANN Board established the Internationalized Domain Names 
(IDN) Working Group at the ICANN meeting in Melbourne in March 2001. 
The Board directed the Working Group "to identify the various 
internationalization efforts and the issues they raise, to engage 
in dialogue with technical experts and other participants in 
these efforts, and to make appropriate recommendations to the Board."

After preparing a mission statement, the Working Group asked the 
ICANN community to respond to three surveys addressing technical 
questions, policy questions, and questions concerning current services 
relating to IDNs. Fourteen entities and individuals responded to these 
surveys prior to the ICANN meeting in Stockholm in June 2001, 
where the Working Group chairman presented a status report. 
After the Stockholm meeting, the Working Group received an additional 
eleven responses to the original surveys and follow-up questions 
the Working Group had put before the ICANN community. Additionally, 
members of the Working Group engaged in consultations with entities 
such as the Multilingual Internet Names Consortium, the Arabic 
Internet Names Consortium, and JPNIC.

The ICANN community strongly supports the deployment of IDNs. 
There is broad recognition that IDNs will increase Internet use by 
the majority of the world's population, whose native scripts are 
non-Latin. However, several issues need to be resolved so that 
IDNs can be deployed in a manner that does not harm the stability 
of the Internet.

Significant technical questions must be addressed because the 
domain name system was originally designed to handle only Latin 
scripts in ASCII format. There are two primary technological approaches 
for using non-Latin scripts as domain names. One approach involves 
sending domain names over the Internet in local encodings such as 
BIG5 or UTF-8. Because this approach may require reconfiguration 
of the servers throughout the Internet, it is referred to as a 
"server side" approach to IDNs. The second approach involves translating 
the local encoding into ASCII Compatible Encoding at the user's computer. 
Since this approach requires users to install the appropriate 
translation software into their computers, this approach is referred 
to as a "client side" approach. In addition, there are hybrid approaches, 
which involve changes on both the client and server sides.

Each of these approaches has technical and practical advantages and 
disadvantages. The absence of a clear "best approach," and the many 
tradeoffs, makes the task of the Internet Engineering Task Force's 
Internationalized Domain Name Working Group, the body charged with 
selecting a standard, particularly difficult. However, delay in the 
adoption of a standard may encourage the development of alternative 
roots for IDNs. The IETF appears to be leaning in favor of adopting 
a client side approach. After a standard is selected, the deployment 
of applications such as email will still take time. Additionally, 
the special requirements of particular scripts will have to be addressed.

The deployment of IDNs will increase the opportunity for cybersquatting. 
Survey participants recommended a variety of measures, particularly 
increased use of UDRP arbitrators familiar with non-Latin scripts, 
to combat this problem.

The existence of IDNs will also create a demand for top level IDNs. 
Respondents provided different suggestions for approaching this 
potentially contentious and divisive issue.

To date, well over a million IDNs have been registered. Many of these 
are "live" to varying extents. Although respondents indicated that 
they would migrate to the standard adopted by IETF, this large number 
of registrations places pressure on ICANN to address the issues raised 
by IDNs expeditiously.

Accordingly, the Working Group makes the following recommendations. 
The ICANN Board should do everything in its power to facilitate the 
adoption of an IDN standard by the IETF. It should urge members of 
the IETF IDN WG to find expeditiously the best solution that can be 
adopted and implemented in a timely fashion.

Second, ICANN should charter a steering committee with representatives 
from the supporting organizations, the GAC, and the Working Group to 
advise the Board on policy issues relating to IDNs. The steering 
committee would focus on the three policy areas identified by the GAC 
in its Melbourne Communiqué: promoting interoperability; preventing 
cybersquatting; and applying competition, market access, and consumer 
protection principles. Because time is of the essence, the steering 
committee should be convened as soon as possible, and it should present 
the Board with its work plan and schedule at the ICANN meeting in 
Marina del Rey in November 2001.


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