June 26, 2007

New Domains in Works at Internet Meeting

New Internet addresses, including those entirely in foreign languages, are under review by a key oversight agency, although meetings this week in Puerto Rico are likely to conclude with more questions.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers scheduled several discussion sessions in San Juan on separate proposals to more rapidly expand the pool of domain name suffixes - the ''.com'' part of an e-mail or Web address - and to permit non-English characters for the first time.

Individuals and companies outside the United States long have clamored for non-English scripts, finding restrictive the current limitation to the 26 English letters, 10 numerals and the hyphen. Addresses partly in foreign languages are sometimes possible, but the suffix itself for now requires non-English speakers to type English characters.

Paul Twomey, ICANN's chief executive, said Monday that the organization expects a report or two on policy questions it would need to address before allowing such names.

For example, should the operators of China's ''.cn'' automatically be entitled to the Chinese version of that, ''.com'' and anything else in the language? What if operators of Taiwan's ''.tw'' want to claim it?

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