ICANN Mulling Multilingual URLs

Since the Internet came into widespread use, those among the 70 percent of the world that doesn’t speak English have argued that the Web is inaccessible. So next week the nonprofit group contracted by the US government to run the Internet will begin testing domain names in other alphabets. On Monday, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will conduct a test to see whether domains written entirely in foreign scripts can work without crashing the Net. For several years, the company has allowed domains that are half in foreign characters, such as [Chinese text].com or [Arabic text].org. For the test, domain names will look like [Korean text].[Korean text]. The long road to this stage, which comes nearly a decade after the technology for creating multilingual domains was invented, has left many in the non-English-speaking world impatient and angry. Questions of political and linguistic sovereignty, alongside accusations of American digital colonialism, have motivated some countries to create their own Internets, effectively mounting a challenge to the World Wide Web

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