A report from BBC reveals that it will soon be possible to use non-Latin characters in web and e-mail addresses. Seemingly the organisation in charge of web addresses and suchlike, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is due to discuss this breakthrough at its conference in Seoul this week (see notice). It will soon be possible to have web addresses in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Hindi or Urdu.
This restriction has always struck me as extremely unfair to the majority of people in the world who do not use Latin characters and so far has ensured that if you want to use the net you need to learn our alphabet. Evidently even if the change is approved it will take some time before the new addresses are up and running since there has to be some kind of transliteration tool so that our computers can cope with non-ASCII addresses. However they say that Arabic domain names will be available as soon as next month. This should make the net more accessible to even more people.