[UA-discuss] Report from Thailand Workshop

Don Hollander don.hollander at icann.org
Thu May 14 03:49:14 UTC 2015

This report from the ICANN team who attended the recent workshop organised
by THNIC.  You would have already seen links to their videos.

EAI Workshop 


The EAI Workshop was an initiative of THNIC and the Thai government's
Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) - the agency of our Thai
GAC member. The workshop gathered some 70 participants from the Thai
community. The aim of the workshop was to identify who the stakeholders of
the Thai community are on this issue, how to approach them, and how to
promote the usage of Thai IDNs and EAI. In this regard, to publicise for the
event, the organisers advertised in the local papers and opened up the event
to members of the public. The full-day workshop consisted of sharing by
international community regarding their EAI/IDN experience; THNIC's work on
EAI; as well as ETDA's plans to deploy EAI as part of the overall plan to
promote and implement Thai language use online. Kuek gave an introduction of
ICANN and also updated on the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG),
encouraging the Thai community to participate.


Salient points of the event are highlighted below. The event details,
including agenda and presentations can be downloaded at:
* The organisers' target reach include the local ISPs, Webmasters, and
eCommerce service providers. Apart from Microsoft in Thailand, the event was
also supported and attended by local IT infrastructure solutions company
Throughwave, as well as local associations including the Thai eCommerce
Association, Open Source Education and Development Association, Thai
Webmaster Association, and the Thai Webhosting Service Provider Club.
* The local speakers did their presentations mainly in Thai, highlighting
the focus on the local community's participation. However, who, and how many
of these participants will follow-up with THNIC remains to be seen.
* Of note regarding the Thai community, a fair amount of work is being done
by THNIC to promote IDNs and EAI.
> * THNIC had produced a couple of animated videos on these 2 topics. For IDNs,
> the video highlights a very relevant local example of a chicken egg farmer
> called Kai who wants to bring his local business online. Incidentally, the
> words 'chicken', 'egg', 'sell', 'far away' in Thai are all "Kai" with
> different tones, but the transliteration cannot capture this. Thus,
> "kai-kai-kai-kai.com", which was intended to be "Kai-sells-chicken-eggs.com"
> becomes easily confused with a variety of different meanings, resulting in
> problems. In this regard, having the ".thai" IDN solves this issue. The videos
> can be accessed at the following links:
>> * IDNs - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39MbIb2PlS4
>> <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39MbIb2PlS4>
>> * EAI - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLbPvv3AyeU
>> <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLbPvv3AyeU>
> * On EAI, THNIC has also partnered with a number of email service providers to
> test EAI compatibility. These include Afilias, Coremail and Crossflow. Gmail
> can receive and respond to IDN emails, although users cannot create IDN email
> accounts as well. THNIC is also looking to partner with Hotmail and Yahoo in
> their testing.
* The above said, awareness raising remains a challenge.
* Microsoft (Thailand) has also embarked on EAI deployment for Thai email
addresses, led by their National Technology Officer Ome Sivadith, who is
very supportive of this issue and the broader issue of Universal Acceptance.
In his presentation, Ome highlighted that Universal Acceptance in the entire
ecosystem is key and requires the entire Thai community to be involved.
* In his remarks, ETDA Deputy Executive Director Wanawit Ahkuputra (also our
GAC rep) highlighted ICANN's "One World One Internet" tagline, and that the
Internet should reflect the World's diversity in languages. With IDNs, the
complete use of Thai language online can now be a reality, and he hoped that
this can be a legacy left behind by "our generation". There is a large
domestic market in Thailand which is not comfortable with using English, and
IDNs and EAI would allow for many Thais to go online. Wanawit highlighted
the Thai government's long term plan to deploy IDNs and EAI to allow for
Thai user identification, and in collaboration with the private sector,
eCommerce and eGovernment services (e.g. Investment, banking and tourism
portals) can be made available in local language.
> * As a first step, ETDA is leading on the formation of the IDN Language
> Generation Panel for Thai script, and invited the workshop participants to
> join. [Note: Sarmad is planning a Southeast Asia tour and will be visiting
> Thailand to conduct a workshop for the LGR panel in late-May.]
> * Of note, in the longer term and building on from the LGR panel as a first
> step, ETDA also hopes that more Thai community members from the Internet
> ecosystem could come together to form a multi-stakeholder grouping to look
> after Internet issues in Thailand. Wanawit specifically highlighted the ICANN
> multi-stakeholder model as a reference model for this envisioned grouping.
> [Comment: This is a very positive vision by our GAC rep which we will look to
> support and profile]
* Other international speakers included DotAsia CEO Edmon Chung (also a UASG
Vice Chair), Internet Hall of Famer Dr John Klensin, China's CNNIC and
Coremail, Vietnam's VNNIC, and reps from Laos, and Ukraine. Some noteworthy
points are captured below:
> * In his keynote remarks, John Klensin listed several technical challenges
> regarding IDN application and EAI, but highlighted that the real problems are
> the non-technical ones – as internationalisation allows for more communities
> to come online and that they could communicate better within themselves, but
> risks fragmentation as it potentially makes communication across language
> communities more difficult.
> * China's Coremail is a very interesting case study. As part of an initiative
> led by the government (CNNIC), which issued a white paper at APECTEL48 in 2013
> with the vision to comprehensively deploy EAI in China, Coremail began
> releasing its EAI address registration platform in 2014. Essentially, people
> who buy a Chinese domain name can get 5 free EAI Chinese emails for 1 year. As
> of April 2015, there are now over 50,000 users of Chinese EAI addresses,
> notwithstanding the fact that Coremail and CNNIC did no promotion at all.
>> * From a technical perspective, Coremail accommodates for users to have 2
>> email addresses: the EAI email as at the main address; and an ASCII email
>> address as a fallback. Emails that bounce back are automatically re-sent via
>> the ASCII email address.
>> * Coremail's case demonstrates a relatively successful government-driven
>> model, although John Klensin also highlighted negative cases where
>> government-led initiatives (in the West) resulted in the adoption of poor,
>> incompatible and out-dated systems.

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