By Dr. Ajay Data, UASG Chair
During the ICANN73 Virtual Community Forum (7-10 March) and Prep Week (22–24 February), the global Internet community came together for two Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG) sessions that highlighted the industry’s progress toward achieving the Universal Acceptance (UA) of all valid domain names and email addresses in any length, language or script, as well as opportunities for collaboration in support of UA adoption. More than 200 session participants joined from around the world to discuss UA activities and recent global progress.
Below are key insights from both sessions with links to presentation materials and recordings.
This UASG-led session provided an update on the work and outreach on UA of domain names and email addresses being carried out by the UASG Working Groups (WGs), Local Initiatives (LIs), and UA Ambassadors.
The Measurement Working Group provided an overview of recent evaluation projects, like the UA testing of social media platforms and browsers. The group is now working on new projects focused on UA-readiness of identity platforms and popular webhosting tools, the results of which will be shared once ready.
The Technology Working Group discussed its ongoing work that includes UA evaluations of standards and best practices, development of UA-ready code solutions, filing bug reports in programming languages, and the recently published report: UA conformance of programming languages and libraries. The WG is currently finalizing its report on the UA-readiness of top 2,000 global websites.
The Email Address Internationalization (EAI) Working Group provided details on its EAI-Readiness Self Certification Guide, which will provide UA-readiness scores (silver, gold platinum) that grade the systems used by mail service providers, software vendors, and developers. The group is also focused on educational outreach to the developer community through technical Q&A sites.
The Communications Working Group gave an update on its recent efforts, including a paid social media campaign aimed at Python developers in order to raise UA awareness and direct them to remediation resource UASG033. The campaign was successful in driving people to uasg.tech and generated more than 460,000 impressions across Twitter and Facebook.
UA Local Initiatives (LI) also provided updates on the UA work and outreach being conducted in their regions. The China, CIS-EE, India, and Thailand LIs outlined their key activities which have included hosting UA sessions at regional IGFs and DNS events, hackathons, developer and technical workshops, as well as developing relationships with local businesses and organizations to become UA-ready (e.g., Tencent, NetEase, NIXI, Coremail).
UA Ambassadors shared highlights from local events and collaborations around the world, including an update from the China UA ambassador that Email Address Internationalization (EAI) was approved by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world’s largest bank, which is preparing to become EAI-ready.
Universal Acceptance (UA) of domain names and email addresses is necessary to promote choice, innovation, and access for the Domain Name System (DNS), which is why ICANN has included UA as part of its FY21-25 Strategic Plan. This session continued the dialogue on how increased collaboration between ICANN Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees (SO/ACs) and the UASG can help promote and achieve UA.
Highlights included updates on how the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) has appointed a UA point of contact, Christian Dawson (former UASG Comms WG co-chair), in a newly created role, which will help ensure that the important work the UASG is doing is connected to the policy work of the GNSO. Likewise, the ICANN At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) has also appointed a liaison, Satish Babu (UASG Tech WG chair, APRALO chair), to encourage greater alignment between the UASG and ICANN policy development efforts.
The session recording and slides are available here.