Universal Acceptance directly connected with ensuring internet inclusivity

Today, on November 13, ENOG 17, a conference being held online for the first time in its history, with a record number of participants, draws to a close. The conference has been organized by RIPE NCC with support of the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ.

Universal Acceptance of IDNs and EAI on the internet as well as existing formats of international and regional cooperation in this sphere were among ENOG 17’s topics. Maria Kolesnikova, the Coordination Center’s Main Analyst and Chair of the UA Local Initiative in CIS and Eastern Europe, presented her report, “News and tasks of Universal Acceptance.” As of today, there are 156 top-level IDNs in the domain space, including 17 Cyrillic ones. Universal Acceptance is a concept when all domains and emails regardless of the alphabet, way or number of symbols (such as .РФ, .PHOTOGRAPHY) are equally supported by internet apps, devices, and systems.

Kolesnikova spoke at length about the report “Global Evaluation of Websites for Acceptance of E-mail in Various Countries in 2020”, which was prepared by the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG). Moreover, it served as base for the Coordination Center’s report “Analysis of E-mail Universal Acceptance Level in Russia and the World in 2020,” which includes additional research on Cyrillic the alphabet support carried out by the Coordination Center.

According to the research mentioned in the report, only 11 percent of popular websites around the world support e-mails with Unicode symbols, and slightly less than 10 percent of e-mail services are configured for this. The situation is a bit better in Russia: almost every fifth popular Russian website (19 percent) accepts Cyrillic e-mails. This is the second best result in the world, only after Germany, with 28 percent of websites with Universal Acceptance of e-mails in national languages.

Kolesnikova also talked about events and projects held by the Coordination Center and UA Regional Group CIS and Eastern Europe: Поддерживаю.РФ and IDN Bug Bounty, as well as UA trainings and hackathons held in 2020.

“Immediate introduction of Universal Acceptance is not only a technological task. This process is directly connected with ensuring internet inclusivity, developing language diversity and creating equal conditions of internet access for people who do not speak or speak little English and therefore suffer a lot of difficulties when using the internet,” Kolesnikova noted. The development of the domain name system was also raised at other ENOG 17 meetings. Head of Global Stakeholder Engagement for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Mikhail Anisimov spoke about a new research project, ICANN ITHI (Identifier Technology Health Indicator) and described how this project could be used to assess the operation of DNS and identify patterns and anomalies. He also called on DNS operators and internet providers to take part in the project:

“ITHI processes data it receives from the project’s partners. As always in such research, the full picture depends on the number of participants involved. The more data we gather, the more precise we will be in identifying trends and specifics of how DNS operates.”

Today ENOG 17 is drawing to a close, but all the meetings will be available. Reports can be found on the conference’s website.

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