Access to Local Culture and Language (ALCL)

4 December 2008 - A Workshop on Diversity in Hyderabad, India


The global Internet as of today recognizes only ASCII addresses as domain names. But we are in a transition to Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). This transition has evolved into a series of political challenges such as creating IDNs associated with Country Code Top Level Domain Names ("ccTLDs"), developing policies on IDN dispute resolution, IDN whois records, and competition among incumbent registries. Who sets the standards? How many IDNs should be allocated for each country? Should incumbent registries get the same top level domain ("TLD") in new scripts? 

This workshop explores how to resolve such political challenges. The concept of multilingual road signs on the global Internet was first proposed to ICANN in 2000. ICANN is about to implement the IDNs. Why did it take so long to reach a global consensus on multilingual domain names? 

Those who believe in the principle of global compatibility of the Internet were afraid that the Internet would become a tower of Babel. They resisted multilingual gateways to protect global compatibility on the Internet. Those who believe in the principle of access to local culture and language on the Internet kept fighting to build multilingual gateways. Tensions also arise among those who use same language and character sets when it comes to a decision-making process for the specific language and character sets. The Government of China believes it has a sole authority to decide matters about Chinese gateways on the global Internet, whilst stakeholders of Chinese are all around the world. India has another challenge. The Government of India recognizes 23 official languages including Hindi and English. Everybody struggles at this stage how to handle this complicated challenge ahead. 

  1. Tinwee Tan (Civil Society, National University of Singapore, MINC) -- Singapore
  2. Tijani Ben Jamma (Civil Society, WFEO CIC) -- Tunisia
  3. China government (Gov't) -- China (under consultation)
  4. Vasil'ev Vladimir Mikhailovich,Head of Department, Ministry for Information Technologies and Communications of the Russian Federation (Gov't) -- Russia
  5. Yoav Keren... (Private Sector, GNSO/ICANN) -- Israel --- Domain the Net, Member of ICANN President's Advisory Commitee on IDN, Member of the ICANN GNSO IDN Policy Working Group, Israel Ministry of Communications Representative on IDN to ICANN
  6. (International Organization, ICANN or ISOC) -- USA (under consultation)
  7. Subbiah (Private Sector, -- Singapore/USA

Tina Dam of ICANN and Bill Graham of ISOC were contacted for their interests in their participation. Tina responded to me with positive consideration but no confirmation yet. 


  1. Tinwee Tan (National University of Signapore, Multilingual Internet Names Consortium) Civil Society, Singapore, Asia
  2. Tijani Ben Jamma (WFEO Committee on Information Communication, Vice-Chair) Civil Society, Tunisia, Africa
  3. Subbiah ( Private Sector, Singapore/USA, Asia/North America
  4. Y.X. Zhong (WFEO Committee on Information Communication, Chair, University of Posts & Telecommunications) Civil Society, China, Asia
  5. YJ Park (National Internet Development Agency, Advisory Committee) Civil Society, South Korea, Asia