Role of community to achieve universal acceptance

29 Nov 2022 13:15h - 14:15h

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Event report

The session on universal acceptance (UA) is the continuation of the IGF’s efforts to bring multilingualism to the wider internet, embodied in the ICANN Universal Acceptance Steering Group. This year, the session presented the work done between two IGFs. The idea of universal acceptance is the idea that all internet services should be able to resolve multilingual requests. Universal acceptance of domain names and email addresses enables to protect cultural diversity by supporting native languages in DNS.

The session also looked at the ways stakeholders involved in the process can help make universal acceptance the norm for the future internet. In particular, academia, technical community, and governments can do a lot in their respective fields. Panellists pointed out that it is important to distinguish that universal acceptance offers obvious economic benefits, but beyond that, it is a tool for economic development and the societal role of such services is great. Aside from new business models that are surely emerging from UA principles, governments around the world should enable everyday digital services to correspond to their native languages. As we can all envisage further digitalisation of our society, UA features will enable faster and more efficient digitalisation. At the session, we heard that in the next 18 months, all government entities will be ready to fully support UA principles.

On the academic side, there is also a lot to be done, and this work is essential for the notion of UA to become accepted. New curriculum material for technology programmes, is created right now with UA in mind. The material mainly covers all stages of universal acceptance readiness, including accepting, validating, processing, storing, and displaying in all software applications for email address internationalisation.

In the end, the technical community working on UA solutions also needs to do a considerable amount of work. It is particularly important to explain to businesses around the world that UA is a new business model and can be used for financial benefit. Universal acceptance is a large umbrella, so the goal is for all domain names and all email addresses to be accepted equally in all software applications. Tech challenges are not trivial but the UA idea is in line with the UN Secretary-General Agenda and will help ensure that no one is left behind.

ICANN and the IGF will continue to support the free and open source software communities around the world to help make UA principles essential in any further OSS developments. Apart from this, ICANN, the IETF, and the IGF should continue to push UA as one of the top five principles. Universal acceptance is a global approach that allows differentiation and preservation of one’s identity.

By Arvin Kamberi


The session in keywords

IGF 2022 WS 500 Role of Community to Achieve Universal Acceptance