Browser IDN display policy: opinions sought

John C Klensin klensin at
Mon Dec 12 18:16:01 CET 2011

--On Monday, December 12, 2011 10:23 -0500 Andrew Sullivan
<ajs at> wrote:

>> And ponies! ;-)

> Well, it's bound to sound that way if you don't take seriously
> the idea that there might be a way to figure these things out.
> Suppose that zone operators (not just the root or TLDs, but
> any random zone you liked) had a mechanism by which you could
> look up their policies for, say, code point inclusion.  That
> is, I'm RegyCo, and I run .example.  I put an SRV or URI or
> something record at .example that points you to a policy
> document that tells you what code point ranges are permitted
> together in a single label in my zone, and also (for that
> matter) what code points I will register _at all_.  Now you
> are in a position to decide whether you think my policy is
> sensible; and you are also in a position to decide whether any
> given label actually meets my own stated policies.  Finally,
> since this forms the basis for a filter in your software, you
> have the ability to set a default for your users that makes
> sense, but also a way for people who want it to get the
> benefits of the most permissive settings available under
> approach A.  Finally, it wouldn't involve a massive scaling
> problem facing the whitelist in the case the root zone
> increases dramatically in size, since most of the work (all?)
> could be automated.

Andrew, sure, but...   This comes back to the assumptions that: 

	-- all registries are good guys and enforce whatever
	rules they make.
	-- all registrars are good guys, with neither motivation
	nor will for getting around the rules.
	-- if either of the above fail, there is someone with
	both the authority and willingness to require that the
	rules be enforced and to enforce that requirement (or to
	enforce the rules itself, but that is even more

Now, unless one believes in miracle turnarounds from history,
all of the above assumptions are demonstrably and massively
false.  If they were only occasionally false, Gerv would still
need to decide whether his obligation to protect users required
some additional measures.  But, despite believing strongly that
ICANN should be held responsible for stepping up to the role in
this that I read into their charter and bylaws, I think spending
energy on a policy that requires believing all three of the
above today should get you, not just a pony, but an opportunity
on a discount price on a bridge I understand is for sale.


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