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Afilias' specialized technology makes Internet addresses more accessible and useful through a wide range of applications, including Internet domain registry services, Managed DNS and award-winning mobile Web services.

Newest Dynamic Coalition Launched at IGF 2018 to Drive Resolution of DNS Issues

The Internet Governance Forum 2018 meeting was an important part of Paris Digital week, bringing together people from across the community towards the end of good internet health and best practices. The event was particularly exciting for Afilias, who helped form a new Dynamic Coalition.

Along with NTIA and Verisign, Afilias is a founding member and also its Secretariat of the Dynamic Coalition for DNS Issues (“DC-DNSi”). The Dynamic Coalition held its inaugural meeting in Paris last week. The DC-DNSi is designed to foster a multi-stakeholder discussion and issue resolution for DNS issues that complement, but do not duplicate or compete with, work undertaken within ICANN and the IETF. The first issue we are addressing is Universal Acceptance (“UA”), building on the tremendous body of work done by the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG) within ICANN.

UA is an imperative that directly aligns with the IGF mandate: Help to find solutions to the issues arising from the use and misuse of the Internet, of particular concern to everyday users. We believe something as fundamental as language should not be a barrier to using the internet, and UA is about removing those technical barriers. We presented the following premises that motivate us:

  1. Universal Acceptance (UA) helps mitigate the digital divide by providing a more natural, familiar way to access the internet.
  2. UA has the economic potential to benefit enterprises by increasing the markets they could serve with products and services.
  3. IDNs help to enhance linguistic diversity in cyberspace.
  4. Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) are accurate predictors of the language of web content.

This is also embodied in the UNESCO concept of internet universality: one internet accessible to all.

In the meeting, Afilias presented a framework for moving from general awareness to implementation and how we look at our resources and work product. Think of it as the ABC’s of UA:

A: Awareness – Informing people about the problem, the importance of resolution, and how they can help. This phase involves broad, public knowledge building. The work product here is expected to drive interest and requires production in numerous languages, as localization is a key part of information sharing, especially when pitching facilitation of technology in multiple languages!
B: Buy-in –Translating the need for UA into specific relevance of an organization. Once a business, government, academia or NGO is generally aware of the challenges, this phase provides the materials or information to help convince them that implementation is important for their organization and should be a priority.
C: Completion – The act of implementing standards and protocols. Once an organization decides to adopt, we need to make it easy for them to implement by having all of the technical resources identified and organized in one place. Fortunately, much of this has been done by the UASG.

The first meeting was vibrant and hopeful, and it is directly the result of its attendees. Everyone is passionate about Universal Acceptance, and agreed about the importance of the work and the goals. The DC-DNSi members demonstrate a diversity in strengths – technical expertise, policy development, public -private collaboration, product development, communications, and management, to name a few. We will leverage these skills throughout each phase of the project to tailor our deliverables to as broad a group as possible. This is important to avoid unintended bias and to consider all members of the ecosystem. Our membership diversity and active collaboration are vital to our success.

I am optimistic about the work the DC-DNSi will produce this year and look forward to strong engagement, leading to a presentation at IGF2019 in Berlin. Awareness leads to acceptance, which leads to accessibility. Universal Acceptance is at the core of what it takes to bring the next billions online; I’m looking forward to tackling UA with new and existing colleagues and friends.