History of Russian national domains presented at HOPE 2020 conference

The Hackers on Planet Earth conference, HOPE 2020, is underway. The event has been held once every two years since 1994, and this year it is taking place online for the first time due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The key word here is ‘hackers’, but it is used in its initial meaning for people who use their knowledge and skills for solving current complex issues. HOPE is not limited to cybersecurity and technology and brings together famous musicians and philosophers, writers and human rights defenders. For instance, Daniel Ellsberg, a military analyst who in 1971 released secret documents on the prerequisites of the Vietnam war, as well as writer and journalist Cory Doctorow, an activist in favor of liberalizing copyright laws, and Edward Snowden who revealed surveillance programs by NSA.

Nevertheless, participants focus on the issue of the internet and technology development. During the current event, participants discussed internationalized top-level domains. Yulia Ovchinnikova, former member of the Border of the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ, and currently creator and leader of some technology projects in the USA, delivered a report on the subject. She demonstrated the importance of the development of internationalized domains giving the example of the development of Russian national domain zones. She noted that around 60 percent of internet users do not speak English, while 60 percent of internet content is in English. The development of internationalized domains is a way to overcome this disproportion and open the door to the internet for those who do not speak English.

The importance of having access to content in one’s mother tongue is confirmed by the number of domain names registered during the first day of the public registration in the Cyrillic domain .РФ – 240,000 domain names. According to Yulia Ovchinnikova, the possibility to create internet content in a native language is a good motivation for developing creativity and will facilitate the economic and technological progress of the society. She also said that during the launch of .РФ some were concerned that it would compete and affect the .RU domain. But in fact, there has been a synergetic effect which positively influenced the two domain zones.

She also spoke about the preparations and educational work that was made before and during the launch of .РФ and pointed out the need to solve the Universal Acceptance issues that still prevent the comprehensive development of internationalized domain zones.

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