Tables and contextual rule for Katakana middle dot

Vint Cerf vint at
Sun Apr 12 05:43:46 CEST 2009


I think John's point about inappropriate contextual use of certain
characters is really a key issue here. As we introduce a broad range of new
characters into domain names, it is virtually certain that some people will
try to use them for phishing or related purposes. If they could be
reasonably ruled out as punctuation, that seems a reasonable choice. The
alternative is to rely on registrars (in the generic sense - ie. operators
of registries at any level in the DNS) to resist registering confusables. I
fully agree that we ultimately cannot prevent all confusable abuses and will
have to rely on registration-time conservative practices. This also means
that there will be a lot of abuse since second or third level "registration"
can be fully in the hands of a deliberate abuser. It is in this area where
we may have an obligation to think in terms of deliberate misuse. So even if
some characters would not be confusing in proper context, they might be used
with deliberate malice in inappropriate contexts. The middle dot might be
one such case.


2009/4/10 Mark Davis <mark at>

> Your statement wasn't offensive, and I didn't take it as such. (Email is a
> particularly clumsy medium for conveying tone, so it is easy to misinterpret
> what someone says.)
> I think the reason that John raised it, and that I followed in that vein,
> is that visual representation is a key factor in our deliberations. We do
> have exceptions to the LMN rule, and those exceptions are based on whether
> (a) the character is needed -- in common usage in words, and (b) whether
> inclusion causes "harm".
> The only demonstrated harm for non-ASCII characters in IDNA is where there
> there is visual confusion, so that's why it comes up as a criterion in this
> case.
> Mark
> 2009/4/8 Patrik Fältström <patrik at>
>> On 8 apr 2009, at 22.16, Patrik Fältström wrote:
>>  On 8 apr 2009, at 00.41, Paul Hoffman wrote:
>>>  So we are now back to choosing characters based on visual confusion? How
>>>> the heck did we get here?
>>> Because Mark started using visual representation.
>> I have been bashed privately (again) because of this statement, and I am
>> told I should have written "Because John brought it up, so you should have
>> hit on John and not Mark".
>> If that is the interpretation people have, I misunderstood the first email
>> from John, and apologize.
>> The rest of my message still stands, and this comment from me was
>> irrelevant, but to be honest, I think also the question was as irrelevant
>> and I just want to explain that my reaction was based on the fact the
>> question was asked.
>> Once again, specifically to Mark, my apologies.
>>    Regards, Patrik
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