Re: nameprep, IDN spoofing and the registries

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Tue Feb 22 2005 - 05:01:15 CST

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    On 22/02/2005 05:18, Erik van der Poel wrote:

    > ...
    > As George points out, the registries are going to have to start
    > filtering IDN lookalikes, otherwise they will eventually face lawsuits
    > from the "big boys" (as George so delightfully puts it). ...

    It seems to me that there is another approach for the registries which
    might well work for them with a lot less trouble, and keep the lawyers
    off their backs. That would be to disclaim any kind of responsibility
    for spoofing, and accept all syntactically permissible IDNs - or perhaps
    with restrictions which are nothing to do with anti-spoofing. And I am
    sure that in practice at least some registries will try this approach
    unless forced to change by courts - changes which might be forced in
    the USA but probably not in every legal jurisdiction.

    Thus the problem for registries may go away, but not the problem for
    spoofed sites and their users. So there is a need for a solution in
    other places.

    Anyway, spoofing does not always rely only on graphical similarity. I
    remember seeing "Panosonic" products on sale in a former Soviet country
    a few years ago. The sellers were obviously relying on the superficial
    similarity to "Panasonic", and the same spoofing could be just as
    effective on the Internet. But no registry would automatically refuse etc - in fact this domain is for sale, I'm surprised
    Panasonic hasn't bought it.

    There are also spoofing opportunities with TLDs. Will Russians always
    have to type .ru in Latin script, or will the Cyrillic equivalent .ру be
    an acceptable alternative? The problem is that the latter looks
    identical to .py for Paraguay.

    Peter Kirk (personal) (work)
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