Proposed Charter for the IDNAbis Working Group

Gervase Markham gerv at
Wed Mar 26 12:33:05 CET 2008

Vint Cerf wrote:
> This work will address stable and unambiguous IDN identifiers.
> There are a variety of unsolvable problems, notably the problem
> of characters that are confusingly similar in appearance (often
> known as the "phishing" problem) that are not part of the scope
> of the WG.

I entirely agree that it is not possible for this group to "solve" the 
phishing problem. Any mitigation strategy will require changes at all 
levels, not just that of the IDN protocols.

However, my understanding and hope is that IDNAbis will disallow, in 
some way, a large number of characters which are not used in the 
languages of the world but are permitted by the current "include unless 
we thought of a reason to exclude" approach. What would be the rationale 
for doing so if not as one of the many actions to be taken to mitigate 

Is excluding phishing from consideration entirely the right way to put 
this? Do we not want something more like: "It is not within the 
capabilities or scope of the WG to solve the phishing problem. However, 
some changes which are considered to be helpful in working towards a 
solution may be made."? (Or better words.)


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