[UA-discuss] [UA-EAI] Issue needs discussion and closure

Vittorio Bertola vittorio.bertola at open-xchange.com
Mon Mar 12 13:59:16 UTC 2018

> Il 12 marzo 2018 alle 14.02 Arnt Gulbrandsen <arnt at gulbrandsen.priv mailto:arnt at gulbrandsen.priv .no> ha scritto:
>     Mark Svancarek via UA-EAI writes:
>         > > Discussing with Dennis, we wonder if M3AAWG already has a
> >         recommendation on this topic. If so, we should adopt theirs.
> > 
> >     >     Well, there already is a source of truth, you can see it if you look down:
>     Your keyboard.
>     I don't know where each of you are in the world, but the keyboard, whatever
>     it is, provides strong guidance (even if not an absolute rule) on what sort
>     of identifiers you and your correspondents can use.

Unless I did not understand what you meant, I don't think this could work:

- you, your keyboard and your mail system can receive email from someone who is using a completely different keyboard and script, and in no way the fact that your keyboard cannot type that email address is an issue that prevents you from just clicking "reply" and continuing the correspondence, as long as your mail system supports EAI;

- in any case, nowadays you have key combinations and other instruments that allow you to type whatever character on whatever keyboard; it may be easier or harder, but you can do it if you need and know how;

- also, people may use different devices with different keyboards, so the people <=> keyboard biunivocal mapping does not work;

- even you just wanted to restrict which characters you can use when you connect to a free webmail platform and create a new email address, nothing would prevent the user from connecting again with a different keyboard;

- all in all, it would be very weird for me to think that I can only exchange email with people who are using an Italian keyboard/email address; just in my company we have a couple dozen nationalities and different keyboards, we would have to shut down the company;

- and finally, I'm not sure that a server has a way to know 100% securely and reliably which keyboard is the user typing on.

Also, re your point 3, I would be wary of any central authority telling people in country X which characters from their script can or cannot be used in email addresses. If there is a need to prevent confusion, you may introduce specific technical rules (or maybe best practices) forbidding as few things as possible, but nothing more than that.

Also, as you point out with your gmail/gamil example, most confusion/phishing in the West actually happens with Western-only characters in domains and addresses, and no one cares (or better, this is being addressed by other means, e.g. content scanning, blacklisting etc). I just received a "Paypal" email from "donot at repaly.com", but no one is asking to outlaw "repaly.com", so I'm not sure why there is all this desire to prevent people in non-Latin-script countries, or even those of them who live in Latin-script countries, from using all the characters they want.



Vittorio Bertola | Head of Policy & Innovation, Open-Xchange
vittorio.bertola at open-xchange.com mailto:vittorio.bertola at open-xchange.com 
Office @ Via Treviso 12, 10144 Torino, Italy
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