By Dr. Ajay Data, chair of the UASG; founder and CEO of XgenPlus

A month into my new role as Chair of the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG), I am more energized than ever about the work we are doing to help build the inclusive Internet of tomorrow. As the next billion Internet users come online, it is critical that all domain names and email addresses – regardless of language, character or length – work with all applications.

For example, take my email address अजय@डाटा.भारत in Hindi. Many websites and apps do not recognize it as valid, so I am unable to use it to buy products, sign up for more information or the myriad of things that you use your email address to do. In addition, some email platforms don’t accept it as a legitimate email to allow me to exchange emails with other people. This limits people’s choice in how they are represented online and has negative economic and societal implications for organizations and businesses, which is why our work is so important.

Over the past few years it’s been remarkable to see our group achieve important milestones in making Universal Acceptance (UA) a global reality. We’ve been developing guidelines for UA readiness, establishing benchmarks, providing self-testing facilities and helping raise awareness about the importance of organizations to keep pace with the evolving domain name system. These accomplishments were made possible by our founding team under Ram Mohan’s leadership, who provided us with a platform to achieve new goals.

Looking ahead, we need to continue to address new challenges faced by this complex, digital world, while identifying new opportunities and fostering meaningful engagements with stakeholders. Specifically, I support the UASG in furthering its engagement with:

  • Large companies, from social media platforms to travel conglomerates, so that we can garner their support and efforts to become UA-ready,
  • Governments, specifically in non-English speaking regions, where internationalized domain names (IDN) and Email Address Internationalization (EAI) can enable billions to navigate the Internet in their local languages and chosen identities,
  • Technology companies and open source communities to ensure UA, IDN and EAI are considered in application design,
  • Startups and small tech companies to help them understand the business opportunities around UA,
  • Operators of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and IDN TLD operators to understand and mitigate the ongoing issues they have related to UA.

UASG is a group that only works because of the participation from our members. As a global, highly engaged group, we welcome input and outlooks from our community. Please reach out on social media and share your perspectives on UA as we embark on a new chapter of executive leadership. You can connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

With your support, we can, and we shall.