Giving Indians what they truly deserve

Giving Indians  what they truly deserve through Universal Acceptance

90% of our population does not use English as a primary language. If citizens are to use the power of Internet then all websites should be hosted on language IDN and must provide Email Address Internationalsation.

The 7.5 billion population of the world embraces different cultures, geographies, religion and language. When it comes to Internet, language becomes much more important as approximately 350* (source Wikipedia-English-Speaking-world) million people speak English and most of Internet building blocks are in English – technically speaking it uses ASCII or the American Standard Code for Information Interchange the most common character encoding format for text data in computers and on the internet.

The complexity in India with 1.3 billion people is much more as India officially uses 22 languages and no true, universal, national language.

While recognising this need of multi-lingual Internet and bridging the digital divide in between English and non-English population so that non-English population can be upgraded to use the power of Internet.

ICANN along with passionate community individuals

While recognising this need of multi-lingual Internet and bridging the digital divide in between English and non-English population so that non-English population can be upgraded to use the power of Internet.

in 1996 starting talking about this and IDN (Internationalized Domain Name) took birth.

What is IDN?

An internationalized domain name (IDN) is an Internet domain name that contains at least one label that is displayed in software applications, in whole or in part, in a language-specific script or alphabet, such as Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Tamil, Hindi or the Latin alphabet-based characters with diacritics or ligatures, such as French. These writing systems are encoded by computers in multi-byte Unicode. Internationalized domain names are stored in the Domain Name System as ASCII strings using Punycode transcription. पत्रिका.भारत in Hindi , почта.рус in Cyrillic and 支持@电邮.在线 in Chinese are valid examples of Internalized Domain names.

IDN adoption started from year 2010 with ccTLDs in the Arabic alphabet for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. India adopted IDN in 2014 with .भारत (Hindi equivalent of India) and launched domain registration in 8 Indian languages.

What is Punycode?

Punycode is a way to represent Unicode within the limited character subset of ASCII used for Internet host names. Using Punycode, host names containing Unicode characters are transcoded to a subset of ASCII consisting of letters, digits, and hyphen (the Letter-Digit-Hyphen (LDH) subset, as it is called). So when a IDN domain gets configured in DNS system, the domain name is configured using punycode not in Unicode part of domain. To explain it better we can take an example of Hindi IDN पिञका.भारत and its punycode will be xn--11b3arz5ee0h.xn—h2brj9c. You can try hands on using to convert any Unicode to Punycode or Punycode to Unicode.

As we all know, domain names are primarily used for two critical applications, 1) Website and 2) Email. Email was very important part for better adoption of the IDNs hence EAI (Email Address Internalization) protocol was finalised. and in 2014 Google announced their gmail platform to be compatible with email address created on IDNs.

What is EAI?

EAI is the protocol that allows email addresses with IDNs in the domain part and/or Unicode (non-ASCII) characters in the Mailbox name to function within the traditional email environment. संपर्क@डाटामेल.भारत is a valid example of valid email address in Hindi. More information about EAI can also be found on . The IETF conducts a technical and standards working group devoted to internationalization issues of email addresses, entitled Email Address Internationalization (EAI, also known as IMA, Internationalized Mail Address). IETC has produced RFC 6530, RFC 6531, RFC 6532, and RFC 6533, and continues to work on additional EAI-related RFCs. In general communication people also refer this as Internationalization (UTF8SMTP) extension to email servers.

Obviously, now its understood that RFCs were needed to be followed by email servers and email clients (MUA) to be able to start EAI and this would create a situation where EAI Compliant email servers and non-EAI compliant servers will co-exists in the email world. This created a challenge to deliver an EAI email to non-EAI compliant email server and this led to another innovation and protocol called Downgrading. So tht both servers can communicate and exchange emails flawlessly.

What is Downgrading?

Internationalization (UTF8SMTP) extension allows UTF-8 characters in SMTP envelope and mail header fields. To avoid rejecting internationalized Email messages when a server in the delivery path does not support the UTF8SMTP extension, some sort of converting mechanism is required. This is known as Downgrading mechanism for Email Address Internationalization.

To solve this problem along with other domain names issue, In 2015, a volunteering group got formed under ICANN umbrella known as Universal Acceptance Steering Group

So when EAI compliant tries to deliver an email containing Unicode envelope and recipient server do not announce UTF8SMTP support, the sender server MUST downgrade and change the envelope to punnycode (contains only ASCII characters) so that email gets delivered without any problem. However reciepient will not be able to display original Unicode characters. For Example email address in Hind अजय@डाटा.भारत should be automatically downgraded to xn--l1b0cxc@xn--c2bd1gb.xn--h2brj9c if an email is being delivered to non-eai compliant email server.

Companies also trying to innovate and replace the Punycode to a normal ASCII email address so that recipient can understand the sender very well and do not get confused by seeing punycodes.

Upgrading People:

(Bridging the digital divide)

In the times to come, our large global population will have access to internet as we all do today. People who are deprived because of language barrier, will enjoy the power of internet without any further laminations. We can imagine that IDN+EAI+Downgrading are going to create massive impact on the entire internet infrastructure, its adoption at mass scale and impacting billions of people life positively.

Universal Acceptance

While its a a matter of fact that any one can have IDN ( A Domain Name in any language ie. डाटा.भारत), EAI (A Email address in any language अजय@डाटा.भारत ) but acceptance of them in softwares and websites is still a challange. More than 80% of email servers are not capable to communicate with EAI address. While Google and Microsoft supports communication with EAI addresses, but more solutions do not support that communication.

To solve this problem along with other domain names issue, In 2015, a volunteering group got formed under ICANN umbrella known as Universal Acceptance Steering Group ( which a clear mission ie. All domain names and email address must be accepted in all software application.

The mission could sound simple, but there are huge challanges which this group is trying to solve with 650+ volunteers across the world. For example one can not signup on facebook with EAI address or open a bank account or use this email address for AADHAR. These are just examples to explain the problem, there are much more problems. UASG is trying to solve the problem via measurement, remediation and awareness efforts.

If software can ACCEPT, VALIDATE, PROCESS, STORE, and DISPLAY any domain name and email address the way it should, the software could be considered UA ready.

Why it is important for India

Our 90% population do not use English as primary language. If citizens have to use the power of internet and Govt has to enable the door of communication with citizens than all the websites should have hosted on IDN and must provide EAI address. Citizens should be able to do everything in India with their preferred email address such as my email address अजय@डाटा.भारत. Once we enable a citizen with barrier free access to information / internet we can expect many more revolutions in India.


ICANN’s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you have to type an address into your computer – a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation and a community with participants from all over the world. ICANN and its community help keep the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It also promotes competition and develops policy for the top-level of the Internet’s naming system and facilitates the use of other unique Internet identifiers.

Dr Ajay Data
Manisha Parashar | Voice&Data Dr Ajay Data

By Dr. Ajay Data

Founder & CEO of Data Xgen Technologies.

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