By Ajay Data, UASG Chair

Since 2015, the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG) has been working to make the Internet more inclusive for users around the world through the Universal Acceptance (UA) of all valid domain names and email addresses. Over the past decade, the Domain Name System (DNS) has expanded significantly and domain names and email addresses are now available in many different languages and scripts (e.g., ユニバーサルアクセプタンス.クラウ, почта-тест@универсальное-принятие-тест.москва), and new top-level domains of longer lengths (e.g., .photography). But these domains and email addresses are not always accepted by Internet-enabled applications, devices, and systems. In fact, recent analysis shows that only 6.3% of tested mail servers’ IP addresses (over 2 million) can accept an internationalized email address with the domain part in ASCII, and only 1.45% can accept an email address completely in local languages/scripts.

The UASG, through its six working groups, addresses these issues through a multi-pronged approach that includes tackling the underlying technical issues and gaps, hosting UA trainings for software developers and system administrators, conducting direct outreach to global tech companies and domain industry leaders to raise awareness of the many benefits of being UA-ready, and more.

Last year, the UASG released its first UA-Readiness Report for FY20 which provided in-depth analysis of the state of UA-readiness globally and gave an expansive overview of the UASG’s activities for the year. I am pleased that the UASG has made this an annual effort and that we are able to share a new report for FY21. The UA-Readiness Report for FY21 summarizes the scope of UA and testing frameworks, documents updated UA-readiness gap analysis, provides remediation guidance, and outlines the key activities and accomplishments of the UASG during the past fiscal year (July 2020-June 2021). To view the UA-Readiness Report for FY21, click here.

This annual report is a true testament to the dedication of the working groups and members of the UASG, with the ongoing support provided by ICANN org. I would like to thank them all for their help and look forward to continued collaboration.

Achieving UA is a collective responsibility and it will only be fully realized if all of us make our own systems UA-ready. The UA-Readiness Report for FY21 is a great resource and I hope it gets you started on your own UA journey.

If you are looking to get involved with the UASG, here are a few ways: