[At-Large] Opera now lets you ditch boring web links and use emojis instead

Karl Auerbach karl at cavebear.com
Mon Feb 21 02:42:49 UTC 2022

As a personal issue I think the notion of emojis in DNS is little more 
than a concession to a (hopefully) passing childish fad.

And from a security perspective (not to mention the confusion of users 
in genera) I have a intuitive sense that it is a fad that contains seeds 
of trouble.

But I'm just one person out of billions of us.  I don't use emojis, but 
it seems that a lot of us do.

And I don't want to be like the voice of Ma Bell in the 1960's loudly 
proclaiming that packet switching and the attachment of foreign devices 
were something to be avoided and banned.

So how do I decide?

So using the rubric of my "first law of the internet" I start with the 
position of "emojis ought to be allowed" on the basis of them being of 
private benefit (although I personally find it hard to see that benefit 
or credit it with value.)

Then I say "but is there a public detriment and if so is it substantial 
enough to block that private benefit?"

As things stand right now I can't clearly and concretely articulate the 
public detriments (although I feel that they are out there) much less 
measure them.

Which, according to my rule means that I would conclude to take no 
action (at this time) against emojis in domain names.  But I'd suggest 
inquiries and research to obtain more concrete information about the 
issue.  (Yes, I realize that my conclusion contains a strong possibility 
that we could end up with an deeply entrenched ill practice.)

Part of this is informed by my belief that the domain name system is 
slowly fading from the public eye; that we are moving into a world in 
which DNS names are becoming more a part of the hidden machinery of the 
net (like MAC addresses) and that higher level naming abstractions, 
things like Twitter names or Facebook handles, are becoming the more 
prevalent forms of naming on the net.

I also am of the belief that on the net attributes are often more 
important than names.  For instance, if I am looking to buy some machine 
screws I care more about the attribute "hardware store" than any 
particular name of such a store.  In that vein I sense that it might be 
a useful endeavor to create a list of attribute types [and for each some 
definition of the possible values].  I'm thinking something like the 
Dublin Core metadata definitions, but of more universal applicability. 
To make use of such a world in which things are known by their 
attributes as much as by their names we would need new protocol and 
server machinery to do the kind of soft lookups that attribute systems 
need.  As is my tendency, I sense that such things might well learn from 
the biological world in which "adequate matching" is often a key to 


On 2/20/22 17:29, Alejandro Pisanty wrote:
> Karl,
> TL;DR, QED for no emojis in DNS. Thanks.
> Alejandro Pisanty
> On Sun, Feb 20, 2022 at 3:52 PM Karl Auerbach via At-Large 
> <at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org 
> <mailto:at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>> wrote:
>     On 2/20/22 8:52 AM, sivasubramanian muthusamy via At-Large wrote:
>      > What does ICANN think about private and often proprietary
>      > 'innovations' that aspire to "cause a major shift in the way the
>      > Internet [DNS] works" ?
>      >
>     Remember, the Internet came from a rejection of the status-quo, the
>     world of circuit switching and central control.
>     The question you asked is not far distant from a question whether we
>     ought to nail down the Internet in the same way the telcos of the first
>     three quarters of the 20th century ossified the telephone networks.
>     Ma Bell and other telco's imposed extreme, and often arbitrary, limits
>     on innovation at the edges. Take a look at the 1956 US case regarding
>     the Hush-a-Phone. (In that case AT&T tried to block the attachment of
>     what was essentially a plastic hand that would be attached by the user
>     to the mouthpiece of a telephone. At&T made wild claims that that would
>     cause the telephone network to collapse and repairmen would blown off
>     the top of telephone poles.)  Then look at the Carterphone and MCI
>     cases.
>     One of the hallmarks of the Internet is permissionless innovation at
>     the
>     edges. Clearly there are balances to be made, but we risk a balance
>     that
>     pushes too much control to the center.
>     Some decades ago I distilled this balance into a short formulation:
>     First Law of the Internet
>     + Every person shall be free to use the Internet in any way
>         that is privately beneficial without being publicly
>         detrimental.
>          - The burden of demonstrating public detriment shall
>            be on those who wish to prevent the private use.
>              - Such a demonstration shall require clear and
>                convincing evidence of public detriment.
>          - The public detriment must be of such degree and extent
>            as to justify the suppression of the private activity.
>     https://www.cavebear.com/old_cbblog/000059.html
>     <https://www.cavebear.com/old_cbblog/000059.html>
>               --karl--
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>       Dr. Alejandro Pisanty
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