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IDN Homograph Concerns

  • To: <idn-homograph@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: IDN Homograph Concerns
  • From: "Bill Nichols" <Bnichols@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2005 18:22:58 -0500

At this point, it appears we have groups representing registries lobbying for 
the continued expansion of IDNs while requesting that "everyone be careful and 
play nice".  As a parent, I cannot vouch for this approach.  As someone who has 
attempted to purchase bulk whois information for non-marketing, fraud-detection 
related purposes, I can attest to the fact that registries only follow ICANN 
directives when they want to.  

This is simply not addressing the problem.

The gTLD Registry Constituency offered the starting point in their posting 
(http://www.icann.org/topics/news022305.html):

"The acute concern is with the visual overlap between the Cyrillic and Latin 
alphabets. To avert the risk for confusion, the inclusion in the same label of 
letters in the Unicode Cyrillic code chart [1] and the Latin-based code charts 
[2] will be blocked for all relevant languages. The digits 0-9 and the hyphen 
sign may, however, appear in all labels containing Cyrillic or Latin letters. 
Individual registries may subsequently adopt more detailed policies for dealing 
with requests for names with justifiable and secure cross-script components in 
these code point ranges. "

While only the first step in examing the problem, it goes a long way to dealing 
with much of the potential for abuse.  

I suggest that, if the regististry constituencies desire accelerated adoption 
of IDNs, they work together to provide tools (and code or whatever is needed) 
to those who implement browsers and related applications (Microsoft too, much 
as it pains me to say it).  Look at what can be done internally.  Spend some 
money on the problem.  It is in their interest, they should seek to facilitate 
it.  If they're not willing to spend money/time/effort, then they have no 
business soliciting aid from those who are exposed to fraud, abuse,  or other 
criminal actions.  Simply saying "Everyone be smart and don't get ripped off" 
means you don't care enough about the problem to deserve to have your opinion 
noted.

Bill Nichols
Posting as a private citizen
b_nichols@xxxxxxxxxxx



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