[NA-Discuss] ICANN overlap on recent fake news alarm?

Wes Boudville wesboudville at gmail.com
Mon Nov 21 20:35:36 UTC 2016

This misuse of Unicode to make symbols look like ascii was predicted some
10 years ago in the spam wars. It was not about fake news, but with an URL
being sent by a spammer to many, where the domain in the URL used the
Unicode. It wasn't really common then, because most browsers at the time
could not handle Unicode in the URL. [Some of you on this mailing list may
well know more about this than me.]  But I remember reading forecasts that
if the URL is broadened with i18n to encompass Chinese, JP, Hindi etc, then
this could become more common.

Don't get me wrong. I certainly think it is beneficial that someone in the
Middle East [for example] can read an URL in Arabic. The global outreach on
this is good and inevitable.

On a tangential note - the proliferation of TLDs in the last 5 years (and
this is ongoing) leads to a similar phenomenon, where instead of using
Unicode to look like ascii, spammers mimic goodsite.com with (eg)

(Around 2006, I cofounded metaswarm.com. We did antispam, so that's my
background on this topic.)

On Mon, Nov 21, 2016 at 12:23 PM, Dharma Dailey <dharma.dailey at gmail.com>

> Among the many articles recently about the proliferation of fake news, a
> few have touched on the use (or misuse) of URLs to fool people.
>  For example, this story claims that a unicode character was swapped to
> make people think google was supporting a particular US candidate in the
> recent election:
> http://mashable.com/2016/11/21/fake-google-domain/#C87rdUV2IaqL
> Are any of you following this angle?
> Dharma Dailey
> Graduate Research Assistant
> emCOMP Lab
> Human Centered Design & Engineering
> University of Washington
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