Frequently Asked Questions: Universal Acceptance
What is Universal Acceptance?
Universal Acceptance (UA) is the concept of removing all technical barriers that might hinder a user from accessing any name in any TLD from any web browser, email client, or other Internet application on any computer or electronic device.
Why is it important?
The Internet is now critical to the way we live our lives and everyone should be able to freely use it without any technical barrier being in the way.
What is a TLD?
"TLD" stands for top-level domain, a portion of the Internet naming structure. Globally recognized and unique identifiers such as email addresses and web site names "belong" inside a TLD.
What is an IDN TLD?
An IDN TLD is a internationalized domain name top-level domain. This refers to the TLD name being in a non-ASCII script, that is, it uses characters other than the Latin alphabet. The addition of IDN TLDs permit people to make use of names in many more languages than could be achieved in the original set of TLDs.
Why is UA an issue?
Users are experiencing "bugs" when trying to use many TLDs in their browsers, email and other applications. This contributes to a "chicken-or-the-egg" problem. Users don't exhibit enough interest to get bugs fixed because the bugs prevent users from becoming interested, and vice versa. As a result, this is not just a "bug" for users, it is a "bug" for all working to expand the Internet.
Operators of TLDs, especially IDN TLDs, are seeing unnaturally limited demand for names in these zones. This dampens enthusiasm for investment in the growth of the Internet.
What is happening at the end-user level?
Bugs appear in a few ways.
One bug prevents someone from using an email address because the software doesn't believe the name is legitimate. The bug may be simply omitting the TLD from a list or it may be an interactive rejection of a name as not valid.
Another bug is the failure to convert from a user's written (typed) input into the internal formats used on the Internet and conversely to display identifiers in the users' script. The underlying format is in ASCII, to avoid obsoleting older systems but this format need never be presented to the user.
In certain instances, browsers are not recognizing and rendering the new gTLDs in the correct script, such as a Chinese language address displayed as a seemingly random list of letters and figures.
Email addresses written in non-English letters aren't being accepted as well.
Who is affected by Universal Acceptance?
Internet service consumers needing or wanting to make use of identifiers in TLDs that experience technical faults are affected by lack of Universal Acceptance. Notably, but not exclusively, this includes people whose written language is not based on ASCII. A secondary effect is on providers who would benefit by accepting and offering these identifiers, the effect being via lowered demand.
What is Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG)?
The creation of a Steering Group 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.
This is a project that will take years to make progress on; the Steering Group should be a standing group whose membership may fluctuate over the years. ICANN should be prepared for the Steering Group to drive action over the course of the next 10 years and group leadership terms and structure to be re-evaluated every two years.
Why is ICANN involved in Universal Acceptance?
The community ICANN serves has goals of achieving a means to have unique identifiers support the real world communications of the global population. Besides covering the written languages this includes other innovative ways in using identifiers such as domain names and email addresses.
What does ICANN think should happen?
We call for the cooperation of invested parties to ensure that all the new TLDs are available to all that would use them.
What is ICANN's role in UASG?
ICANN's role is that of coordinator, catalyst, supporter, advocate and manager of the work streams. Staff should project manage and publish outcomes, and provide budget as appropriate to support the initiative. They should also act as a Secretariat for the UA Initiative.
Where do I direct questions regarding Universal Acceptance?
To submit questions or contribute additional material that may be helpful in further work on this, please email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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