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Universal Acceptance Steering Group: A Year of Progress

26 October 2016

Cyrus NamaziRam Mohan
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Over the past year, the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG), a community-based team of industry leaders supported by ICANN, has led the effort to prepare the online community for the next billion Internet users through a process known as Universal Acceptance (UA).

The concept of Universal Acceptance advances the Internet by ensuring that Internet applications and systems treat all top-level domains (TLDs) and emails based on those domains in a consistent manner – including those in non-Latin-based languages and those that are more than three characters long. This ensures that people using these new extensions can continue to use online systems, such as a web form, without receiving an "error" or "invalid address" message. UA is also critical to the continued expansion of the Internet, as it allows governments, organizations and other online entities to serve populations around the world in their local languages and with domain names that better align with their identities. This is helping to enable a true multilingual Internet.

The UASG has made significant progress over the past year in raising awareness of UA around the world. In addition to launching a website (www.uasg.tech) that acts as a central repository for UA materials, it has also developed and disseminated a comprehensive suite of educational resources about UA and what organizations need to do to become UA-ready. Of the 11 reference-quality documents created, some of the noteworthy ones are:

  • A comprehensive 40-page technical guide to Universal Acceptance aimed a developers and systems architects (UASG007); [PDF, 689 KB]
  • A "Quick Guide to Universal Acceptance" aimed at senior IT leaders; available in nine languages, including Chinese and Hindi (UASG005);
  • A one-page fact sheet aimed at the C-suite, Government Ministers and leading influencers (UASG003); [PDF, 74 KB]
  • A comprehensive FAQ (UASG011); [PDF, 119 KB]
  • A guide for developing local UA initiatives (UASG008); [PDF, 80 KB]
  • A Quick Guide to linkification (UASG010); [PDF, 85 KB] and
  • A short template that people can use to notify the webmaster when they encounter a website that is not UA-ready; available in 14 languages (UASG002) [PDF, 174 KB]

The full list of documents can be found at https://uasg.tech/documents/.

We are only at the start of our efforts. In the months ahead, the UASG will continue to work to further the UA cause by working to get the popular open source programming language libraries UA-ready. It is developing a white paper that will identify economic, social and cultural benefits of UA readiness. The group is also producing educational and technical materials about UA for use by professional and trade associations. Finally, throughout all of the campaigns, the UASG will catalog how organizations' UA readiness is changing over time.

We'd like to thank the 130+ companies, governments, community groups and individuals that support the UASG for their continued partnership on this important effort. Come learn about UA and how you can help at the UA workshop session at ICANN57 on 3 November. For more information, visit https://uasg.tech/ or join the mailing list at https://uasg.tech/subscribe.

Cyrus Namazi

Ram Mohan