You may soon see URLs with Arabic characters and other non-Latin letters. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is pushing a proposal to include Internationalized Domain Names that have native language scripts.
ICANN's IDN initiative, which has been in the works for several years, was presented Monday at the ICANN board meeting in Seoul, Korea, this week. The proposed launch date for the IDN ccTLD (country-code Top Level Domains) Fast Track Process is Nov. 16.
The move is centered on the increasing growth among global Internet users who do not use Latin-based characters, such as in Chinese, Korean and Arabic languages. A copy of ICANN's proposed rules regarding criteria for participation eligibility, language, technical script criteria and more can be found here.
"This is an extremely important meeting for ICANN, since the IDN program is moving one step closer to reshaping the global Internet landscape," said Rod Beckstrom, ICANN president and CEO, in a statement. "In Seoul, we plan to move forward to the next step in the internationalization of the Internet, which means that eventually people from every corner of the globe will be able to navigate much of the online world using their native language scripts."
At the meeting, ICANN also is discussing Generic top-level Domains (gTLDs), which are the end portion of an Internet address name, such as ".com" or ".org" and are not associated with any specific country. The organization said it is developing a new program in which the number of gTLDs will eventually be expanded from its current list of 21 to include almost any word, in almost any language. ICANN is calling for comments about gTLDs. A third draft of a proposed rules and procedures of applying for a new gTLD can be found here.
"The threat was met with an unprecedented collaboration between ICANN and top security experts from Microsoft, Symantec and dozens of other companies, software vendors and organizations dedicated to preserving the security and stability of the Internet," ICANN said. "The Seoul meeting will afford an opportunity for security experts to share updates on DNS Security (DNSSEC)."