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ICANN votes for international domains

ICANN votes for international domains article image
Internet governance body the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has voted to introduce non-Latin domain names by mid-2010. The organisation, which governs domains, registrations, internet protocol addresses, has approved a fast-track process to implement non-Latin domain names including Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Russian and other languages that do not use the Latin alphabet. "The coming introduction of non-Latin characters represents the biggest technical change to the Internet since it was created four decades ago," said ICANN chairman Peter Dengate Thrush. "Right now Internet address endings are limited to Latin characters - A to Z. But the Fast Track Process is the first step in bringing the 100,000 characters of the languages of the world online for domain names." Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) will include around 100 new characters sets on top of the traditional 26-character Latin alphabet. The rules of use will include having only one set of characters per web address, to prevent phishing attacks that mimic legitimate websites with similar characters. The process will begin on November 16 by opening applications for internet extensions in the available languages. If the applications meet criteria that includes government and community support and a stability evaluation, the applicants will be approved to start accepting registrations. "The first countries that participate will not only be providing valuable information of the operation of IDNs in the domain name system, they are also going to help to bring the first of billions more people online - people who never use Roman characters in their daily lives," said Rod Beckstrom, ICANN's president and CEO. Find out more about the program at ICANN's dedicated website.

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