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FYI: International Domain Naming Conventions

Author: Deborah Anderson

Linguistic Field(s): Writing Systems

FYI Body: Due to computer security issues, a set of guidelines is currently being
drafted that will impact future Internationalized Domain Names (i.e.,, and
identifiers. The computer security issues that have arisen involve spoofing
of letters or numbers (e.g., in a recent case unsuspecting users were
sending credit card information to '''' which was spelled with a
capital ''I'' in place of lowercase ''L'', because the two are not visibly
distinct in some fonts). Similarly Cyrillic or Greek letters could be used
in lieu of similar looking Latin letters in domain names.

The current draft (Unicode Technical Report #36, cited below) contains
guidelines that suggest restricting most IPA characters and a variety of
other characters. However, many of these restricted characters might be
needed by local communities when creating Internationalized Domain Names
(and identifiers) in their own script. The results of restricting certain
letters and symbols could affect communities in Africa, North America, and
other locations, since the characters would only be permitted under lenient
security settings.

Note: It is important to distinguish ''necessary'' orthographic characters
from things that would be ''nice to have'' for complete orthography.
Apostrophes, for example, would be nice to have in English, but are not
*necessary* for domain names. Since many IPA letters and extended Latin
letters are used as parts of normal orthographies, the committees want to
get a sense of which letters really are going to be required for use such
as domain names by user communities.

Can you please review the list of restricted characters and send comments
on those characters that are needed by user communities?

To do this, check over those characters listed in the following file:

These lists include a representation of the characters, but the image may
not appear on your screen depending on the fonts installed on your machine;
you may need to use the character code numbers [or names] and refer to the
code charts at

Feedback is needed as soon as possible, but preferably **by the first of
July.** Feedback after that point will be considered for the next version
of the document. Comments should be sent via
Please look at the notes at the top of the draft-removals.txt file before
sending your feedback. Comments should be specific, e.g., character X is
required in common words in languages X and Y, such as:...

The draft of the guidelines, which explain the reasons for these rules and
provides other information, is contained at:

Please feel free to forward this message to others.

With best regards,

Deborah Anderson

Project Leader
Script Encoding Initiative
(Universal Scripts Project)
Dept. of Linguistics
UC Berkeley

Email: dwanders(at) or dwanders(at)

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