Promoting Universal Acceptance on the Internet

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Promoting Universal Acceptance on the Internet

Have you ever thought about how immense the Internet is? Maybe you already know, but have you thought that the Internet makes available everything necessary for intercultural learning, through a variety of tools that promote communication, shared knowledge building and intercultural information exchange between people from all over the world.

However, what about people who speak another language and which its written expression is not based on Latin characters? This is one of the great challenges of the Internet! To improve the way in which web-based programs and applications assimilate or connect domain names that include non-Latin characters. The Universal Acceptance (UA) initiative on the internet “is the state in which all valid domain names and email addresses are accepted, validated, stored, processed, and displayed correctly and consistently.” (UASG, 2019).

Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) and International Email Addresses (EAI) are essential to allow users to communicate and navigate the Internet entirely in their local languages. What is sought is that domain names can include strings in the top-level position that are longer than the older familiar ones. In addition, email addresses would be able to include characters drawn from a much larger Unicode-based repertoire than traditional ASCII.  

This effort is one of the actions required to achieve the objective of connecting 100% of the world’s population. If domain names do not work in all languages, it is not possible to reach that goal. This will also bring the internet closer to millions of people who do not yet have access to content in their language.

Steps for universal acceptance

The Steering Group on Universal Acceptance (UASG), established by ICANN, has determined that there are five aspects that make up Universal Acceptance, and which should be worked on:

  • Accept: the process by which a domain name or an email address is received from a user interface, file, or API (application program interface) to be used by a software application or online service.
  • Validation: the process of checking an email address or domain name for correct syntax and, when appropriate, that a name that is expected to exist in the DNS actually does. Validation techniques may need updating to work with modern domain names and email addresses..
  • Store: the ability to temporarily, or long-term, store domain names and email addresses in well-defined formats, regardless of the useful life of the data.
  • Processing: what happens whenever an email address or domain name is used by an application, or service, to perform an activity (e.g., searching or sorting a list) or change to an alternative format (e.g., from a legacy encoding into UTF-8). Additional validation may occur during processing.
  • Display: the visual rendering of an email address or domain name by a user interface. Displaying domain names and email addresses is usually straightforward when the scripts used and any required rendering mechanisms are supported in the underlying operating system and strings are stored in an encoding defined by the Unicode Standard. Application-specific transformations may be required otherwise.

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Last modified: 02/08/2019

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