Friday, June 27, 2008

Icann? Yes we can!

The large meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Paris has produced a ground-breaking overhaul to the domain name system the likes of which have not been seen before. The main step taken was to internationalise the domain name system to allow for non-Romanic characters, such as Cyrillic, Arabic and Asian scripts. It has also allowed the creation of generic top-level domain names, which will allow companies and individuals to create their own top level domain name, instead of relying on com, org and many of the others we have come to love and hate.

I do not have much to add other than the fact that this is a step in the right direction. It is often easy and even fashionable to criticise ICANN when they get things wrong, or to criticise the fact that this is a private corporation with strong ties to the American government. However, this time they have gotten things right, and the domain name overhaul seems like the right thing to do.

OK, a post without cynicism? I must be getting soft in my old age.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reading this, in my head an alarm goes off.

Namely concerning phishing. There are a lot of characters that look the same or very similar in diverse typescripts — for example the latin A and the cyrilic A look identical. Just as the latin B and the cyrilic B (which means 'V'). This way you can have several domains registered that *look* the same, although they differe in one character (or more) that just looks identical. Just imagine dozens of or http// phishing pages because of that.

It has been debated in the past already whether it should be possible that the URL's could be written in Unicode and was decided against it for that reason.