Language Rights and International Domain Names

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 12-2017

Publication Title

Journal of Cyber Policy


Mass Communications


This research examines how international domain names (IDNs) have become a proxy solution to multilingualism and language rights on the internet. In 2009, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved the initiation of fully internationalised top-level domain names. In this paper, I introduce the process of initiating IDNs, and map out their technological standards and solutions in the praxis of internet governance. Then, I discuss the key players and participants in the initiation of IDNs in relation to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) transition of 2016 and the expiring control of the U.S. government over ICANN. Finally, I discuss the relatively new language rights paradigm, which is gaining ground in cyberspace, coupled with the increasing norm of multilingualism.