ICANN ICANN Email List Archives


<<< Chronological Index >>>    <<< Thread Index >>>

The integrated issue report has not adequately addressed the problem of allowing ZWNJ in TLDs

  • To: "idn-vip-integrated-issues@xxxxxxxxx" <idn-vip-integrated-issues@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: The integrated issue report has not adequately addressed the problem of allowing ZWNJ in TLDs
  • From: Abdulaziz Al-Zoman <azoman@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2012 04:47:29 +0000


First of all, I would like to thank ICANN for initiating this project (the IDN 
Variant Issues Project) and also for giving the community the opportunity to 
comment on the produced integrated report.

I heavily participated in "The IDN Variant Issues Project – Arabic Script Case 
Study" and I was a member of the Case Study's team who identified a number of 
issues that were specific to the Arabic script. I significantly participated 
and assisted in drafting the final report of the Arabic Script Case Study 

I feel that the integrated issue report has not adequately addressed the 
problem of allowing ZWNJ in TLDs and it only provides a reference to the Arabic 
Script Case Study report  which is insufficient. Allowing ZWNJ in TLDs, in my 
humble opinion, is a very serious problem and threat to our users (you can 
sense that by looking to the feedback on the Case Study report where most of 
the comments were from the Arabic specking countries with concerns regarding 
allowing ZWNJ in TLDs). Hence, the reader of the integrated issue report may 
not get the alert and will not be aware of the security, stability, and 
usability problems caused by the use of an invisible control character, i.e., 

I fully understand the need of ZWNJ by some language communities and hence the 
team recommendation was:
       " the team recommends that the ZWNJ issue should
         be further investigated through a comprehensive

Which means that it should be carefully investigated before allowing ZWNJ in 

The Arabic Script Case Study report listed the arguments that are in favor and 
against allowing ZWNJ for TLDs. It is very important that the reader of the 
integrated issue report sees and reads these arguments particularly the one 
against allowing ZWNJ in TLDs as these arguments advocate that ZWNJ causes some 
security, stability, usability, and reachability problems, and  hence mistrust 
of IDNs.

Here are some of the arguments that the Arabic Script Case Study report 
outlined against allowing ZWNJ (page 7 of: 

b. Arguments against allowing ZWNJ for TLDs

i) Labels need not capture linguistic conventions and may be treated as a 
string instead of a linguistic word, which undermines word-based arguments.

ii) At Script level, the ZWNJ is considered by UNICODE to be an invisible join 
control character and listed in the "Unicode Security Considerations" document, 
which warns that incorrect usage can expose programs or systems to possible 
security attacks. This is especially relevant for IDNs.

iii) The ZWNJ in a few cases is still not visible to all users (e.g., U+0637, 
U+0638, U+069F, U+06BE, and U+06FF). A comprehensive analysis of Unicode Arabic 
Script Code Charts is needed to find any additional cases. This process should 
be repeated as the Unicode gets updated.

iv) The ZWNJ concept and behavior are not known to many Arabic script users, 
who do not use it or know how to type it.

v) ZWNJ is not conveniently available on the keyboard, where typing it requires 
multiple simultaneous key-presses, which is complicated for users. ZWNJ is also 
inconsistently placed on keyboards across various operating systems.  In 
addition, it is not available on many keyboards, making it difficult for people 
to use ZWNJ when, for example, they travel.

vi) The users may not be able to type a domain name as they may think it is a 
<space> not ZWNJ, which may lead to reachability and usability problems, and 
therefore, mistrust of IDNs.

vii) Based on the ZWNJ Contextual Rule (RFC 5892 Appendix A.1) for handling 
CONTEXTJ labels under the current IDNA2008, the Rule implementation does not 
totally resolve the non-visibility problem particularly in some cases as 
discussed above (e.g., U+0637, U+0638,U+069F, U+06BE, and U+06FF).

viii) It is not one with the general category of {Ll, Lo, Lm, Mn}, as per the 
requirement defined by the gTLD Applicant Guidebook (v 2011-09-19,Module 2, 
page 2-13, Section, Part II, Item 2.1.3.).

ix) Root policy should be more conservative than labels for other levels.

x) Use of ZWNJ may cause additional bidirectional display issues.

xi) Hyphen can be used instead of ZWNJ to break a string into ligatures

PN: I'm certain that the editors of the report are aware of these problem … 
However, readers may not be aware of the problems caused by the use of ZWNJ .

عبدالعزيز بن حمد الزومان
Abdulaziz H. Al-Zoman

This message and its attachment, if any, are confidential and may contain 
privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact 
sender immediately and delete this message and its attachment, if any, from your
system. You should not copy this message or disclose its contents to any other
person or use it for any purpose. Statements and opinions expressed in this 
are those of the sender, and do not necessarily reflect those of the 
and Information Technology Commission (CITC). CITC accepts no liability for 
caused by this email.

Attachment: CommentsOnICANN-IntegratedIssueReport.docx
Description: CommentsOnICANN-IntegratedIssueReport.docx

<<< Chronological Index >>>    <<< Thread Index >>>

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Cookies Policy