New Domain Names May Internationalize the Internet
On Monday, when the body that regulated the World Wide Web authorized the expansion of URL suffixes far beyond the familiar ".com" and ".net" extensions, it did more than open up new possibilities for clever Web addresses. The ruling set conditions that should significantly increase international participation in running the Internet. New rules for debating the censorship of domain names and the opportunity for URLs with non-English characters mean the rest of the world may soon interrupt decades of exclusive American control.
The changes won?t come quickly, with ".com" remaining the Top Level Domain (TLD) of choice and new TLDs costing $185,000 to register. However, debates over whether or not to allow TLDs like ".hitler" or ".jihad," as well as the opportunity for nationalistic-minded webmasters to register TLDs in their native language, will gradually transform the regulation of the World Wide Web into a much more international endeavor .
?The most important changes will come for those who read and write in non-Roman scripts, such as Chinese characters, Arabic or Cyrillic (Russian),? said Milton Mueller, a professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. ?For the first time, they will be able to see Web and email addresses in their native languages.?
Even though the international nonprofit organization ICANN took over administration of World Wide Web addresses from the U.S. government over a decade ago, the whole affair has remained primarily American. It was encouragement, and later objections, from the U.S. that mired ((CONLINK|2442|the acceptance of the â?