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Universal Acceptance

Overview
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Background
Universal Acceptance Timeline
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Overview

Universal Acceptance is a foundational requirement for a truly multilingual Internet, one in which users around the world can navigate entirely in local languages. It is also the key to unlocking the potential of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) to foster competition, consumer choice and innovation in the domain name industry. To achieve Universal Acceptance, Internet applications and systems must treat all TLDs in a consistent manner, including new gTLDs and internationalized TLDs. Specifically, they must accept, validate, store, process and display all domain names.

The Universal Acceptance Steering Group is a community-based team working to share this vision for the Internet of the future with those who construct this space: coders. The group's primary objective is to help software developers and website owners understand how to update their systems to keep pace with an evolving Domain Name System. Its primary message is that Universal Acceptance will enable the next billion users to build their own spaces and identities online.

The Steering Group was formed to guide the identification of topline issues and proposed solutions, as well as the creation and dissemination of best practices and general outreach information about Universal Acceptance. ICANN's role is that of coordinator, catalyst, supporter, advocate and manager of the UASG work streams. This includes providing budget support and a Secretariat of the UASG.

For resources and information, visit https://uasg.tech/.

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To submit questions or contribute additional material that may be helpful in overcoming these barriers, please send an email to GlobalSupport@icann.org with "Universal Acceptance" in the subject line.

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Background

Domain names in a TLDTop-Level-Domains must be useable in all applications regardless of the written script, character length or newness of the TLD. The primary drivers for Universal Acceptance of TLDs stem from the following elements:

  1. Longer TLD names: TLDs with names longer than three characters, such as .museum or .plumber.
  2. Non-Latin based TLDs: TLDs with names written in scripts other than ASCII, such as Hindi, Japanese and Greek.
  3. Addition of new TLDs: The New gTLD Program spurring rapid additions of new gTLDs delegated to the root zone.
  4. International Email: The introduction of non-ASCII names in email. While IDNs solved part of the ability to have non-ASCII names for servers, it doesn't solve the ability to have non-ASCII names for mailboxes.

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Universal Acceptance will be achieved when Internet applications and systems treat all TLDs in a consistent manner, including new gTLDs and internationalized TLDs. Specifically, they accept, validate, store, process and display all domain names properly.

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Archive:

Frequently Asked Questions: Universal Acceptance
Publication Date: 26 September 2014

Roadmap
Publication Date: 3 October 2014

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."