Report on Universal Acceptance @ ICANN53

As many as fifty people at any point in time attended the first Universal Acceptance Workshop on Day 0 of the ICANN53 meeting in Buenos Aires. It was the first opportunity for the UASG and it’s project groups to meet face to face to assess achievements to date and plan for the next trimester. UASG Chair Ram Mohan went through the formative processes of the UASG since January 2015. Since the seed was germinated in January, the idea of the UASG has coalesced, was affirmed at the ICANN52 meeting in Singapore, chartered, project groups formed, leaders selected and work started.
The workshop also heard from ICANN’s CIO Ashwin Rangan about the real world complexities that a CIO faces to make their organization UA Ready. For many, this insight into the real world were very welcome.

Topline & Technical
This group identified two substantial, priority issues that need to be addressed.

  • There’s a very real need to get Email Address Internationalization (EAI) software further developed and deployed. With Microsoft and Google active members of the UASG the group wanted to put focus on the other very large e-mail service and software providers – such as, Yandex, Yahoo, Coremail and others.
  • Another very real need is to develop and publish specifications and good practice guides aimed at Systems Architects and programmers. And associated with this is the need to get some sample code libraries available

The International group has its focus on the IDN ecosystem and its target audience is the small and medium size developers. The end goal of this group is to develop guides, tools and widgets to drive adoption of IDNs. During the workshop, the group identified some near and long term goals.

  • Among the near term goals is the compilation of good practices about handling of confusable characters to minimize spoofing of domain names
  • For long-term goals the group identified several initiatives. To name a few: next generation IDN guidelines, discuss a transition plan for full IDNA2008 support by browsers, draft recommendation to standardized browser behavior with IDNs.

Measurement & Monitoring
This group is going to develop a seat of measures, both objective and subjective. The group re-affirmed its desire to make sure that it’s efforts were people focused. And the group will also work on some method to capture non-compliant environments and reach out to the relevant responsible party.

Community Outreach
The Community Outreach group wanted to focus on substantive and achievable results during the next trimester. Taking their riding instructions from the other groups on where to focus, they will work on the following two projects:
– Reaching out to very large e-mail service and software suppliers to encourage EAI compliance.
– Developing a communications package for the smaller organisations that the International group wants to target.
The Community Outreach group will also look at UA Branding and newsletters and other activities as resources permit.

In addition to the UA Workshop, a number of other UA sessions were held: UA Updates were presented to:

  • The LACDNS Forum
  • The Registries
  • The Registrars
  • The ISPs
  • The ccNSO
  • The geoTLD Group

The UA Public Forum was held with a repeat of Ram’s presentation at the workshop and Ashwin’s presentation on ICANN IT’s activities as well as an update from the four project groups on the output from Sunday. At the UA Public Forum we also heard of work that David Conrad’s group within ICANN is doing to test reachability of new gTLDs.