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ICANN Approves Non-Latin ccTLDs

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the here-comes-everybody dept.

The Internet 284

Several readers including alphadogg tipped the news that ICANN has approved non-Latin ccTLDs at its meeting in Seoul. "Starting in mid-November, countries and territories will be able to apply to show domain names in their native language, a major technical tweak to the Internet designed to increase language accessibility. On Friday, the Internet's addressing authority approved a Fast-Track Process for applying for an IDN (Internationalized Domain Name) and will begin accepting applications on Nov. 16. The move comes after years of technical testing and policy development... Currently, domain names can only be displayed using the Latin alphabet letters A-Z, the digits 0-9 and the hyphen, but in future countries will be able to display country-code Top Level Domains (cc TLDs) in their native language. ... 'The usability of IDNs may be limited, as not all application software is capable of working with IDNs,' ICANN said in a 59-page proposal (PDF) dated Sept. 30 that describes the [application] process." Reader dhermann adds, "Great, now even less chance I can identify NSFW links before they are blocked by my work's big brother app and my boss is notified... again."

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terrorist level domain (4, Funny)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923617)

Arabic TLDs are a threat to national security

Re:terrorist level domain (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924325)

it's only a matter of time before someone registers bánkófámérícá.com or llóydstsb.co.uk for their phishing schemes

Re:terrorist level domain (1)

pablo.cl (539566) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924381)

bánkófámérícá is not a TLD. This was allowed several years ago.

Re:terrorist level domain (1)

orangesquid (79734) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924411)

Oh hell, just register [add-accent-to-previous-letter]bankofamerica.com. There are tons of ways to abuse unicode, as many security papers have already discussed.

how to... (-1, Troll)

koolfy (1213316) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923631)

...break the internet, again.

Re:how to... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29923741)

Yeah, only the USA should be allowed to dictate what characters are allowed. Since the USA only use 26 letters, why would anyone need more? Also, we should ban web pages not written in English, since it's the only way to insure that terrorists doesn't use a foreign language to bypass the NSA monitoring. We should also ban SSL for the same reason.

Re:how to... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29923857)

So build your own damn internet.

Re:how to... (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924157)

With blackjack and hookers! In fact, forget about the internet.

Seriously though, it is nice to have a lowest common denominator in characters, so that everyone can type every address on the Internet.

Re:how to... (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924443)

Finally, someone who gets it! Now can you please explain that to all your other non-English speaking brethren, because we only speak English here..

Hmm... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29923639)

micrösöft.cöm?

Re:Hmm... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29923805)

Only if you can name a country whose native language ccTLD would be .cöm .

Re:Hmm... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924005)

You're assuming that this isn't a trial run before ICANN expands IDN to gTLDs.

Re:Hmm... (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924117)

No fortunately they're not going yet for a full unicode thing, only a few select character sets like Chinese or Arabic. So for the moment that shouldn't be a problem.

I took Latin in high school (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29923667)

I'm glad we're going with Non-Latin TLDs now, I never understood going to the website "e.pluribus.unm"

Perdire (2, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923695)

There go my plans for world domination through venividivici.vvv

Re:Perdire (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924693)

What about fahrvergnugen.vw?

first urls, then slashdot (5, Funny)

azior (1302509) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923703)

ï höpé thãt slâshðõt wìll dö thís töø wìth ÜRLs!

www.íçáñn.örg

ìt wörkéð!

Re:first urls, then slashdot (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924009)

Here's a demonstration of how non-Latin characters show on /., starting with Arabic:

Hindi:
Russian:
Japanese:
Korean:
Chinese:

Re:first urls, then slashdot (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924319)

Here's a demonstration of how non-Latin characters show on /., starting with Arabic:

Hindi:
Russian:
Japanese:
Korean:
Chinese:

Just because the characters don't show up in the edited text doesn't mean that they won't be handled in anchor tags or Slashdot's URL tag.

Speeding the path to IPv6? (-1, Offtopic)

expat.iain (1337021) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923713)

I wonder what impact this will have on the ever decreasing amount of IPv4 addresses available. If it means that this pushes us towards a greater uptake of IPv6, it can only be good. For too long ISPs have been reluctant to encourage the rollout of IPv6 connectivity, all the time turning a blind eye to this problem of diminishing IPv4 addresses. Perhaps with a rush for new domains there will be a significant drop in the number of free IPv4 addresses and this will spur the uptake of IPv6.

Re:Speeding the path to IPv6? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29923833)

I wonder what impact this will have on the ever decreasing amount of IPv4 addresses available.

This will have absolutely no effect on IPv4/IPv6. This is a DNS change to allow additional characters in domain names.

The domain names get translated to ip addresses by DNS servers.

I doubt that individuals & companies said, "No! We refuse to go on the internet until we can have TLDs with non-Latin characters."

Re:Speeding the path to IPv6? (1)

expat.iain (1337021) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924227)

I doubt that individuals & companies said, "No! We refuse to go on the internet until we can have TLDs with non-Latin characters."

You think that companies have only a single domain? You think that they use only a single IP?

iain@expat-tc ~ $ host www.microsoft.com.au
www.microsoft.com.au has address 203.19.66.74

iain@expat-tc ~ $ host www.microsoft.it
www.microsoft.it is an alias for microsoft.it.
microsoft.it has address 207.46.232.182
microsoft.it has address 207.46.197.32
microsoft.it mail is handled by 10 maila.microsoft.com.

Re:Speeding the path to IPv6? (1)

twistedcubic (577194) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924613)


This will have absolutely no effect on IPv4/IPv6.

It's not as clear as you think. The post you respond to probably thinks that having non-Latin TLDs will increase domain registrations, which might require more IP addresses. Not all new registrations will be redundant.

FORSTUS POSTUS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29923729)

First non-latin top level post.

Re:FORSTUS POSTUS (2, Funny)

twistedcubic (577194) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924643)

That's PRIMUS POSTUS.

Toto, you are not in nss any more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29923731)

nss or Kansas for that matter

ICANN has lost it! (4, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923735)

Far too much software makes the assumption that TLDs only contain [a-z0-9-], so if you want to go changing that there needs to be a damn good reason, there is not. There are ~1369 2 letter TLDS to be shared between ~200 soverin states and 49284 3 letter generic ones to be split between uses (.xxx .nws .org .edu, etc), there doesn't seam to be any good reason to expand that and make lots of software more complex.

And the answer to that... (4, Interesting)

Looce (1062620) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923803)

... of course, is Punycode.

A comment [slashdot.org] before yours has www.íçáñn.örg, which, when entered into Firefox, turns into

www.xn--n-tfarxw.xn--rg-eka

. Looks like the software will still live :)

Re:And the answer to that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29923905)

When you enter "www.íçáñn.örg" into the chrome browser (at least in windows) it automagically thinks you're searching for the term and not actually entering it in as a valid address...

Re:And the answer to that... (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924165)

Probably because up until about five minutes ago, it wasn't a valid address.

Re:And the answer to that... (4, Informative)

Looce (1062620) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924661)

You don't understand. Punycode is how second-level domains are already implemented, even on top of relatively old browsers. This is an extension of Punycode to be usable in the TLD as well.

In other words, your current version of Firefox will be able to visit pages in IDN TLDs when they're implemented, and so if someone does create a .örg TLD today, you can go to www.anysite.örg to your heart's content already.

Note that this doesn't mean you can go to www.anysite.örg in NCSA Mosaic or anything, because these old browsers were around when Punycode wasn't even a standard. You can go to www.anysite.xn--rg-eka and NCSA Mosaic will recognise that, though. The seamless IDN TLD usage is just going to be present in the more modern browsers. I expect that Opera 8+, IE 6+, Firefox 2+ and recent Safari/Konqueror/Epiphany are going to be able to visit www.anysite.örg and 'hide' the xn--etc- access details from you, the user.

Happy surfing!

Re:And the answer to that... (1)

Clairvoyant (137586) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924237)

FYI: in my Opera it's just www.íçáñn.örg. Exactly the way you wanted it.

Re:ICANN has lost it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29923889)

That no reason to stop progress. If everyone thought like this, we would still all be programming in COBOL

Re:ICANN has lost it! (2, Funny)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924475)

And now, with today's progress, that'd be CØBÖL.

Re:ICANN has lost it! (2, Informative)

imagoon (1159473) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923949)

If everyone in the world liked those latin characters, then sure. But maybe someone else in the world prefers yahoo.(nihon*)? Wanted to write it in kanji but /. doesn't seem to take unicode.

Re:ICANN has lost it! (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923967)

Domain names have been muddy for quite some time. Think of all the non commercial dot coms. Or government sites on anything other than their .gov or their country code. del. del.icio.us? They've been mostly ignored. People get .com to look professional, .net at random (though it is supposed to be for ISPs), and .org if you want to stand for some ideal.

Though TBH I'm not certain WHY we need TLDs anyways. It isn't like there is some commercial slashdot.com it just redirects. I imagine that any big name will own all of the tlds with its name. Google is the only company that differentiates but it does it completely wrong. It shouldn't be google.com and google.org ... it could just be www.google vs org.google. I guess it is something that lets companies sell the same product to people multiple times.

Re:ICANN has lost it! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29923991)

This is about letting people use characters from their frickin' own language instead of just english.

Just like so many other things in programming.. if the software doesn't do international, it doesn't do international.

This has nothing to do with making more TLDs.

Re:ICANN has lost it! (3, Insightful)

Jorgensen (313325) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924021)

Yeah right. Because everybody in the whole world only uses ASCII right?

Sorry for sounding flippant, but such US-myopia is far to prevalent for my liking.... Come on guys: Wake up and smell the coffee! There is more to the world than the US! There is no reason to make most of South East Asia and China 2nd-rate citizens on the internet.

I agree that there is a lot of software that needs changing as a result though. But that just means more work, right? You could probably sell this as an anti-recession measure too.

Re:ICANN has lost it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924181)

what about working with people around the planet?
what if a french email has a cedille in it? how do you compose this cedille on your qwerty keyboard?
how do you compose arabic url's from your qwerty keyboard?
tell me it isn't splitting the internet again.

Re:ICANN has lost it! (1)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924675)

You look in the table of characters, it's not like there's thousands of french words that have that. Hell, the cedille is common enough to be added to the characters you can hit with a modifier on at least apple's version of US qwerty. Also, US ASCII isn't even considered good enough for british english because of loan words - it can do three languages right: Latin, US English and Hawai'ian.

Re:ICANN has lost it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924573)

We are not stopping them from building their own separate networks if they don't like the one that is already in place. But the US built the groundwork for the first computer network that evolved into the internet. Why would you be surprised that something that was invented in the US would be in English? And why do you expect the people that the system is working for to fix it for the people who don't like it? I would figure that it is up to the people who don't like it to fix it.

Re:ICANN has lost it! (1)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924145)

Far too much software makes the assumption that TLDs only contain [a-z0-9-]

It's not really an assumption is it if until now the "standard" only called for [a-z0-9-].

Re:ICANN has lost it! (1)

pablo.cl (539566) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924435)

What about .museum or .info? (more than three letters).

Re:ICANN has lost it! (1)

defaria (741527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924657)

Huh? Wouldn't software be simplified by not applying any regex to the TLD?!? IOW why not simply assume it can be anything (short of a null byte).

Encoding? (1, Interesting)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923745)

The encoding seems weird to me:

In reality, the new domain names will be stored in the DNS as sequences of letters and numbers beginning xn-- in order to maintain compatibility with the existing infrastructure. The characters following the xn-- will be used to encode a sequence of Unicode characters representing the country name.

Any DNS gurus care to explain why they wouldn't simply use UTF8?

Re:Encoding? (3, Informative)

Psx29 (538840) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923843)

"in order to maintain compatibility with the existing infrastructure." Tons (dare I say, a majority) of software would break if they used UTF8

Re:Encoding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924201)

But it's not compatible with URLs that contain xn--, intended to show as xn--. Punycode is going to cause those URLs to not render as intended (with the associated risk of lawsuits from webmasters), while UTF8 encoding wouldn't have this problem.

Re:Encoding? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924487)

But it's not compatible with URLs that contain xn--, intended to show as xn--.
But how many of those were there? and afaict it's not xn-- anywhere just xn-- at the start of a part of a DNS name.

Re:Encoding? (5, Informative)

DamonHD (794830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923859)

To avoid breaking all the DNS-related code out there that assumes (ie correctly, based on the current spec) only alphanumerics and '-' in each component.

If you wish to rewrite every single bit of DNS-dependent code, in every laptop, server, embedded network device, etc, etc, ... well assume that it can't be done, and with this mechanism it doesn't need to be. Though I bet a few bits of code will barf at the '--' anyhow...

Rgds

Damon

Re:Encoding? (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924061)

(ie correctly, based on the current spec)

Only hostnames are restricted. Other than that, DNS is almost 8-bit-clean (it case folds A-Z to a-z and dot is special) so UTF-8 is fine.

Punycode only exists because some people have puny ...

Re:Encoding? (1)

DamonHD (794830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924337)

Can you be sure that the DNS code in the WinME that runs your building's lifts is 8-bit clean, just for example? Or your old-but-good HP laser printer with embedded networking?

This is pragmatically addressing the probability of code still in use but written long ago when UTF-8 and 8-bit-clean were woolly notions and twinkles in academic eyes, or just badly slapped together by some junior lowest-big developer who thought "oh, just (ASCII) letters and numbers" and it seemed to work...

I'd bet you a whole dollar that at least one piece of DNS software that you use, explicit or embedded, would break if fed, say, ISO-Latin-1, never mind the UTF-8 control codes, etc.

Rgds

Damon

Re:Encoding? (1)

kc8apf (89233) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924645)

Actually, all labels are restricted to the characters allowed for ARPANET hosts. The spec does state that implementations should store labels as a length octect followed by a sequence of octets, thus implying that any compliant software _should_ handle UTF8, but no one wants to take that chance.

Re:Encoding? (2, Informative)

tokul (682258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923891)

Any DNS gurus care to explain why they wouldn't simply use UTF8?

I am not DNS guru, but guessing. RFC882 - November 1983. RFC2044 - October 1996.

Re:Encoding? (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923899)

Backwards compatibility with existing systems that don't support UTF-8 but still need to make DNS queries. Ranges from basic tools like dig, to un-updated browsers, to embedded devices like routers.

Are there any public DNS servers that support this to see what happens with my existing software??

Re:Encoding? (1)

Looce (1062620) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923939)

Since software makes the assumption that TLDs only contain [a-z0-9-] [slashdot.org] , UTF-8 can't be used in the DNS. Internationalised domain names, even before these new ccTLDs, used that xn-- system, called Punycode [wikipedia.org] . For instance, the site tinyarro.ws, which provides short URLs via a Unicode domain name, already used .ws for that purpose. It turns into xn--hgi.ws when the DNS request is issued.

ccTLDs using Punycode is just an extension of that mechanism for second-level domains.

Erratum (1)

Looce (1062620) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923977)

Yeah, Slashdot apparently needs to be internationalised too. That ".ws" should be "[U+27A1].ws" (BLACK RIGHTWARDS ARROW).

Re:Erratum (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924111)

Slashdot apparently needs to be internationalised too.

Slashdot uses a Unicode character whitelist due to past abuse [slashdot.org] , and U+27A1 isn't on that whitelist. The euro sign € is though.

Re:Erratum (1)

koolfy (1213316) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924447)

And what's the story of the "" ( ... ) unicode character ? Is it supported already ? (looks like it isn't)

Re:Encoding? (2, Insightful)

Creepy (93888) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924523)

Actually, UTF-8 can and is being used in DNS - as long as you stick to basic Latin characters, that is. Also it is Unicode - as I posted earlier, Unicode is a blanket for UTF-8, UTF-16 and UTF-32 which makes it ambiguous.

UTF-8 bits 0-7 is ASCII as long as bit 8 isn't set, so to fully support it you'd need to still exclude bits below 7 that are not valid html characters and include support for multiple bytes and bit 8. The reason existing DNS servers won't work with it is because bit 8 indicates multibyte and the second byte may carry an invalid character from the 0-7 bits and the first byte may have a language encoding for the second byte (indicated by bit 8). For instance character 43 is + and that is invalid in a URL. If character 1 had bit 8 set and indicated the language as French in the language encoding (which I believe is done in the first 7 bits and can in some cases be extended to the second or even third byte, but its been a while since I read the spec - I do know there is an encoding that does this and I'm pretty sure it is UTF-8), the second byte 43 would (probably - I'm not going to look it up) mean something entirely different and be perfectly valid.

Re:Encoding? (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923945)

Good question. The field size for DNS requests is in double words (16bits) increments, so I don't see why it couldn't have been.

Re:Encoding? (1)

bradley13 (1118935) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923955)

The goal is to encode international characters as the characters currently accepted by the standard (a-z, 0-9, etc.) UTF does not do this. Also, the number of characters you can have in a domain name is limited to 26 (and it is the encoded length that counts), so the coding has to be efficient. This is precisely what Punycode [wikipedia.org] is designed to do. Software can recognize an encoded name by the fact that it begins with the special sequence of letters "xn--"

Re:Encoding? (1)

Delwin (599872) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924031)

because UTF8 only solves the null term problem, not the readable character issue.

Re:Encoding? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924235)

Any DNS gurus care to explain why they wouldn't simply use UTF8?

Because they know full well that the vast majority of web developers don't really know what unicode is [joelonsoftware.com] or how it works. Moreover the unicode spec is forever in flux and complete overkill for the international url problem. Lation only urls are a fly, we don't need a bazooka.

Frankly, the current Punycode based system is truly inspired, giving the best of both worlds. Newer browsers can display and use international urls seamlessly, but older systems need never know they exist. People get what they wanted and the entire system chugs on as before. This is exactly what was needed. A simple and effective system that sits on top of existing infrastructure.

If only IPv6 has been designed to be this transition friendly.

Re:Encoding? (1)

ReallyEvilCanine (991886) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924389)

To prvnt phishing and other abus. provids an identifiabl stpgap to prvnt m ding smthing with th URL that I'v just dn in this mmnt.

NSFW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29923771)

===Reader dhermann adds, "Great, now even less chance I can identify NSFW links before they are blocked by my work's big brother app and my boss is notified... again."===

Seriously? You think people shouldn't be able to use internet in their native language because you are afraid of getting in trouble for browsing the web at work when you already know you shouldn't? I'd fire you right now if I was your boss.

Re:NSFW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29923997)

Says the guy browsing Slashdot at work.

Re:NSFW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924093)

Some of us are jobless and living on welfare, you insensitive clod!

Phishing aid (5, Insightful)

querist (97166) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923817)

This will only make phishing attacks easier unless there are SERIOUS checks on domain name registrations. There are letters in the Cyrillic alphabet that have different character codes than their look-alike letters in the Latin alphabet. I'm sure there are other collisions as well. I'm sure they accounted for this in the proposal, but the problem always lies in the implementation. From a security standpoint, this is a VERY bad idea without proper regulation of domain name registrations, and so far it has been demonstrated that we cannot manage them properly even with only the Latin alphabet. From a cultural and usability standpoint, this is a good thing. It will be easier for someone whose native language uses a non-Latin alphabet to recognize the supposed purpose of a web site by its domain name if some of those domain names can be in their native language. A hypothetical native Tamil speaker who speaks no English will be able to recognize the purpose of a site with an appropriate domain name in Tamil, for example

don't forget who wer're talking about here... (5, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923961)

There are letters in the Cyrillic alphabet that have different character codes than their look-alike letters in the Latin alphabet. I'm sure there are other collisions as well. I'm sure they accounted for this in the proposal, but the problem always lies in the implementation

This is a decision made by ICANN. We've known for some time that they will willingly approve really tremendously bad ideas, if enough money is presented to them. They recently moved on a motion to start selling gTLDs, after all.

From a security standpoint, this is a VERY bad idea without proper regulation of domain name registrations, and so far it has been demonstrated that we cannot manage them properly even with only the Latin alphabet

Security is not of any concern for ICANN. Never has been, never will be. As long as they keep making money they're happy; security, spam, phishing, etc, be damned.

Re:Phishing aid (3, Informative)

nsayer (86181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924099)

I think the limitation that nationalized character sets will be restricted to the country TLDs where that language is native is a good first step. Additionally, I believe you're not allowed to use the latin alternative form characters from unicode (like 0xFF20-0xFF5F).

If you're really paranoid, you could just be extra suspicious of domains that end in two letters (and yes, I am including .us), particularly when the 2nd level name is something you recognize, like paypal, ebay, etc. If you're in China, there may indeed be a legitimate paypal.cn, but I suspect it would set off my spidey sense to see a URL like that show up in my e-mail.

Re:Phishing aid (2, Insightful)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924533)

If you're really paranoid, you could just be extra suspicious of domains that end in two letters (and yes, I am including .us), particularly when the 2nd level name is something you recognize, like paypal, ebay, etc. If you're in China, there may indeed be a legitimate paypal.cn, but I suspect it would set off my spidey sense to see a URL like that show up in my e-mail.

That won't work. There really are a lot of big companies that have country-specific sites that use the two-letter global domains. For example, if you're after books in German then you might be very interested in visiting amazon.de, which is totally legit.

Re:Phishing aid (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924539)

I don't think it's a big deal for TLDs since afaict those are created manually anyway.

For lower level domains (which are already using IDN) it's a bigger issue, firefox resorted to using a whitelist to get arround irresponsible registrars.

Re:Phishing aid (2, Informative)

pablo.cl (539566) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924553)

There are letters in the Cyrillic alphabet that have different character codes than their look-alike letters in the Latin alphabet.

Remember we are talking about ccTLDs. There are no more than 200 countries that would like to use non ASCII ccTLD, and they can be inspected manually. Russia wasn't awarded Cyrillic .ru because it looks like Latin .py (Paraguay). They will get .fr (Russian Federation) that looks like 0p (0 with vertical bar).

Here comes the Phishers! (1, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923845)

Yay!!! The door is open for an even harder to detect phishing scheme! Imagine the emails linking to http://slashd/ [slashd] öt.org/something...

I'm all for internationalization, but perhaps limit it to internationalized domain extensions (.jp or .es for example)...

Re:Here comes the Phishers! (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924359)

You not only didn't read TFA, but you didn't even read the summary very well, did you?

Re:Here comes the Phishers! (1)

pablo.cl (539566) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924583)

slashdöt is not a ccTLD, and currently is allowed. Click here in Firefox or Opera: http://xn--slashdt-f1a.de/ [xn--slashdt-f1a.de]

Are we going to have to update the URL RFC? (1)

adamy (78406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923895)

Thee current RFC 1738 http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1738.html [faqs.org] Only allows URLs to be composed of

" Within those parts, an octet may be represented by the chararacter which has that octet as its code within the US-ASCII [20] coded character set. In addition, octets may be encoded by a character triplet consisting of the character "%" followed by the two hexadecimal digits (from "0123456789ABCDEF") which forming the hexadecimal value of the octet. (The characters "abcdef" may also be used in hexadecimal encodings.)"

So A-Z and %ddd Just ain't gonna cut it.

Currently URLs are in the ASCII subset of utf-8. What are they going to be in in the future?

What about languages that go from right to left like Hebrew and Arabic?

Re:Are we going to have to update the URL RFC? (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924471)

RTFA. Internationalized characters in domains are encoded. See also RFC 3492.

TLDs only? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923979)

Is it my imagination, or does this proposal only apply for TLDs, like .uk and .jp? I don't see any mention of supporting it for the rest of the domain name. That seems a logical extension, but it's not been announced.

Re:TLDs only? (2, Informative)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924575)

It's already been in use for the rest of the domain name under certain TLDs for some time.

Not trying to be harsh but... (1)

aceofspades1217 (1267996) | more than 4 years ago | (#29923989)

cmon how could you think "but in future countries" sounds okay.

it should be "but in the future countries"

great info though. I mean its nice to see that the internet is starting to become more international, especially as the US cuts mandatory ties to ICANN.

Raise your hand if you're surprised... (1, Redundant)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924011)

... Yeah, I didn't think so.

ICANN just made another move to make everyday life on the internet slightly more difficult for many users, while making life for con artists, spammers, phishers, etc, much much easier (and more profitable). It is safe to expect that someone (probably more than one actually) at ICANN made some money on the deal.

Hell it wouldn't surprise me if they were working with some financiers to try to find a way to sell internet subprime mortgages for profit as well.

ICANN... (1)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924047)

haz cheezburger?

(Short messages rule)

Excellent idea (3, Insightful)

ugen (93902) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924109)

Now those countries, organizations and businesses that wish to become inaccessible to most of the world (except the native speakers of their own language) can finally do so as easily as possible. Create their own little Internet reservations and stay there :)

As long as my software (such as Firefox) obligingly converts these IDN urls into the dash-hex notation making them obviously unreadable, I am ok with that.

Disclaimer: I am a native of non-English speaking country. I am sure a few of my countrymen will use this feature based on misplaced patriotism. I am also sure that vast majority will ignore it just like they ignore potential to use non-latin domain names that exists right now.

Re:Excellent idea (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924263)

How is this any different today?

If the content pointed to by a domain written in Latin characters points to a site written in Chinese, non-speakers of Chinese still can't actually do anything useful with the site.

Re:Excellent idea (1)

Petaris (771874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924743)

Why? There are translators. The problem is that you are cutting people off as they can't type in Chinese characters (I know its possible but you have to install extra bits to do so, and know what your typing and how to type it on a latin keyboard).

I have friends in a few different non-latin alphabet countries and family in one. If their email addresses were in their alphabet I likely wouldn't be able to email them easily even though we, mostly anyway, correspond in English.

Re:Excellent idea (1)

pablo.cl (539566) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924633)

Compare http://xn--slashdt-f1a.com/ [xn--slashdt-f1a.com] and http://xn--slashdt-f1a.de/ [xn--slashdt-f1a.de] In Firefox the first one shows punycode and the German one correctly appears as slashdöt.de, because Germans are known to forbid scammers, and .com is notoriously the opposite.

Good news (1)

qtriangle (1667725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924151)

Good news for the non-english speaking users. Though a challenge for search engines.

Um, can they be more specific than "Unicode"? (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924161)

Unicode can mean many things - UTF-8, UTF-16, UTF-32 - so specifying Unicode is not detailed enough to implement and by not specifying, it is opening a can of worms IMO. UTF-8 tends to be slower and larger for non-ASCII but has wide acceptance. It would also be the favorite for Linux/UNIX because it is very common there (my Linux box has LANG=en_US.UTF-8) and also for communication with databases (in my experience, UTF-8 is what most enterprise companies use for their database settings if they need multi-language databases). UTF-16 is worse for ASCII because it always has a second byte, but is generally faster and smaller for multibyte languages. It is also the default character encoding for MacOS and Windows (and contrary to its name, it can, in fact, contain 4 bytes of characters - the older format, UCS-2 was 2-byte only). It would be possible to support multiple encodings maybe on the URL, but this needs to be specified (for instance you could do something like http8:// or http16://).

To further throw a wrench in the works, wchar_t in C has unspecified length and can be 8, 16, or 32 bit characters. On Windows and Linux it is 16 bits. On mac and BSD UNIX it is generally 32 bit. This makes multi-platform programming using wide characters in C/C++ a bitch (and I say that from experience).

Re:Um, can they be more specific than "Unicode"? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924729)

TFA is badly written and factually inaccurate.

All that is actually going on here is that icann is allowing use of IDN (which is already in use at lower levels of the heirachy) in the root. The standards for IDN already specify exactly how the names are encoded.

http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3490 [ietf.org]

The problem is switching keyboard input (1)

boef (452862) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924333)

Most people here seem to miss one of the big reasons for this. Just imagine what a pain it would be for you if it was required that you type 2 or 3 Kanji characters at the end of every URL that you type out manually. These are not characters that are generally available on your keyboard and you have to switch they keyboard input to try and type them, or use a software keyboard etc. Even if you are fluent in both languages, it is a pain in the arse.

NSFW links (1)

TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924367)

"Great, now even less chance I can identify NSFW links before they are blocked by my work's big brother app and my boss is notified... again."

If this is a common problem for you, turn off your browser's "load images" setting. Not a perfect solution, but better than a flashing neon animated GIF of bouncing boobs right as your boss walks by. Myself, I've a number of people I follow on twitter who post links and often fail to mention if they're work appropriate, so I set up PuTTY to be an SSH tunnel/SOCKS proxy [sourceforge.net] (scroll down to, "PuTTY for WindowsXP") to my home file server.

Latin =/= Support for English only. (3, Insightful)

mano.m (1587187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924457)

A lot of the debate here seems to be about English-speaking countries vs. the rest of the world, but English isn't the only language that uses the Latin. Also, the unavailability of non-Latin scripts hasn't hampered the flourishing of home-grown websites in India and China named in their many local languages - what makes the ICANN think this is even necessary?

Re:Latin =/= Support for English only. (1)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924749)

There's only a handful languages that use strict ascii, one is dead, and a bunch is a small family of closely related languages spoken by about 2 million people in the Pacific, which is what TFS and TFA describes TLDs as being able to do.

Squatting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924501)

Regardless of implementation, once/if this does go through, my biggest question is what (if anything) is being done about domain squatting? We are talking about opening up potentially millions of domain names that have never been registered and I assume the moment this begins to be possible there would be some mad dash to register everything imaginable...

it just got easier to phish (3, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924577)

Yay. Now you can can register yourbankname.com with some funky characters that render in exactly the same way as the letter you are used to.

Just what we needed... (1)

sajuuk (1371145) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924599)

More places for those damn domain squatters to snatch up before we can.

A complete mess. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924631)

As I said, a complete mess.

God knows what will happen with all DNS caches full of cn--, all security risks, bugs, all unreachable websites (unless you have unicode in your system), confusion, the exponential gowth of phishing, scams, and domain theft.

Unbelievable. Today Internet was such an orderly, quiet medium and now this. One day they will allow people to call each other through the Internet without using their home telephone! Can you imagine?

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