Session 5

IDNs: Status and perspectives in SEE

Teaser

The state of Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) in South Eastern Europe and the neighbouring area.

Key words

Domain Names, Internationalised Domain Names, IDN ccTLD, Localized Domain Names, Non-Latin Domain Names, Internationalized Email address, IDN email

Session description

This session will focus on an Internet-related issue particularly relevant for most countries in South Eastern Europe and the neighbouring area (SEE) – the Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs). IDNs contribute to making the Internet more inclusive, as the possibility of accessing and registering domain names in more languages and scripts (in addition to Latin) empowers more people to use the Internet. This opportunity is extremely relevant for users in SEE, given the diversity of scripts (for example Armenian, Cyrillic, Georgian, Greek, Latin), as well as the fact that some languages, although based on the Latin alphabet, also include characters with diacritical marks (such as in Turkish, Romanian, Croatian, Slovenian, etc.). In some countries, IDN country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) have been implemented (Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine) or are in the process of being implemented (Greece), while other countries have announced their intention to implement IDNs in the future (such as Bosnia and Herzegovina). In addition, there are also several IDN generic top-level domain (gTLDs) registered from within the region (.сайт “.website”, .онлайн “.online”, .москва “.moskva”, etc.). But there is a need to raise more awareness and promote a better understanding of IDN-related issues in the region.

In this context, the aim of the session is to explain the concept of IDNs, as well as the motivations behind their introduction, and to allow for discussions and exchanges of experiences among IDN registries, registrars, and end-users on issues related to the implementation and use of IDNs. Specific topics to be discussed will include, among others: end-users’ knowledge about and expectations from IDNs; benefits and challenges in using IDNs, from an end-user perspective; what registries and registrars (can) do to respond to end-users’ needs, and the challenges they face; etc. The session will be focused on end-users, and their perceptions of, experiences with, and expectations from IDNs.

Session format

This session will start with a brief introduction to IDNs, followed by a general overview of the results of the IDN survey conducted by SEEDIG. Thereafter, a moderated discussion among all session participants will follow.  The discussion will take the form of a Q&A session. Initially, the moderators will ask few guiding questions to kick-start the discussion. This will, ideally, be followed by a dialogue among registries, registrars, and end-users, in which the various actors ask questions to each other.

Main roles

Introduction: Lousewies van der Laan, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

Moderators:

  • Andrea Beccalli, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  • Lianna Galstyan, Internet Society Armenia

Online moderator: Fotjon Kosta, Ministry of Energy and Industry, Albania

Rapporteurs:

  • Mzia Gogilashvili, Georgian National Communications Commission, Georgia
  • Andreea Rusu, The Legal Dot, Romania
Session messages

  • IDNs contribute to a more inclusive Internet, by promoting multilingualism and reaching different communities, especially in the SEE region which is so rich in alphabets and scripts.
  • IDNs also present an important challenge: how to promote universal acceptance while keeping a functional Internet?
  • Despite the advantages of IDNs, the market seems to not be ready for it. One of the barriers is lack of awareness within the region, specially when it comes to seeing the importance of IDNs.
  • The next action step is to start implementing measures to popularise IDNs in the region, by involving all stakeholders.
Resources

1. Internationalized Domain Names, ICANN

2.  Access Domain Name in Your Language, ICANN

3. Internationalized Domain Names, Wikipedia

4. IDNs, ICANNWiki

Relevant proposals

8, 72 – See full list of proposals

Organising team

  • Grigori Saghyan, ISOC Armenia (focal point)
  • Slobodan Marković, Serbian National Internet Domain Registry
  • Zakir Syed, ICANN Fellow, Pakistan
  • Mzia Gogilashvili, Georgian National Communications Commission

Contact points from SEEDIG’s executive committee: Lianna Galstyan, Dušan Stojičević

 

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