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The Internet Censorship

Russia Weighs Going Cyrillic For DNS 223

An anonymous reader writes "The Guardian reports that the Kremlin may start an alternate top-level domain, .rf. According to the story, .ru in Cyrillic translates to .py, the top-level domain for Paraguay, which the Russian government claims leads to confusion. This is similar to a move by China, which has their own .net and .com top-level domains in their native character set along with .cn, .com, and .net in ASCII." Hindering Paraguayan hackers may matter less to the Russian government than establishing greater control over a walled-off Internet.
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Russia Weighs Going Cyrillic For DNS

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  • Great!!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:01PM (#21897488)
    It's great that nations can use their own languages instead of being forced to use alien Latin-English characters.
  • Just me (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rinisari ( 521266 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:18PM (#21897814) Homepage Journal
    Is it just me, or does it seem like the article is really blowing this out of proportion? From my understanding, the Russian government just wants to add a .rf (well, . if I'm remembering Cyrillic correctly). That's it. Users with Cyrillic keyboards will be able to access those sites without a problem, and those of us with non-Cyrillic keyboards will have to either use a character map program or temporarily switch keyboard layouts (as I just did).

    Is that it, or am I missing something?
  • Re:Great!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Arthur B. ( 806360 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:18PM (#21897824)
    they are not the same, they just look very similar
      != py
  • why not .po? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:19PM (#21897828)
    It's true that the cyrillic .(.py) looks very similar to .py, but as someone else pointed out, they are different character sets.

    Also, why did they want . in the first place? that's just "roo" in cyrillic, which is the English spelling for Russia. Wouldn't the Russians themselves rather have .? A .po-equivalent makes more sense for them, since in Russian they call their country Rossiya.

    (sorry if you can't see the Russian chars)
  • Re:Great!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sigismundo ( 192183 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:27PM (#21898042)

    Not sure why the parent has been modded flamebait. It's probably the phrase "alien Latin-English characters", but it's actually an accurate description of how a domain name might appear to speakers of non-European languages.

    I wasn't aware that China had already began experimenting with Chinese characters in domain names, so I did some Googling. Here is a link [] (in English) that describes how to register a Chinese Domain Name (CDN). It makes for a pretty interesting read. It includes the predictable clause that you can't register CDNs that "harm the glory of the state." Users of CDNs are encouraged to use "Official Client-end CDN Software" to make access more convenient. I wonder exactly what this does.

    In general I think it's pretty cool to be able to have non-ASCII characters in domain names, but it seems to introduce a lot of extra compexity into DNS. Also, it seems like it could open the door for more governmental control of the internet, as TFA mentions.

  • by techpawn ( 969834 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:31PM (#21898098) Journal
    This is why we need "common" as a language choice! Go ahead and keep your individual languages (English, French, Goblin) but also have a "Common" language for all people. Like in Firefly everyone spoke a little English and a little Chinese to create a language of the people...

    I fear that it would create more and bloodier Wars than ever before though.
  • Icons for Victory (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:38PM (#21898196) Homepage Journal
    I'd like the URLs in my GUIs to be displayed in their frame with an icon indicating their character set, and colored if in a character set different from my GUI default. If I had that, I'd like to see "native" glyphs without fear that they're decoys. Even though such a system would no longer force most content publishers to deliver content in my own privileged native character set.
  • Trouble ahead? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Duncan Blackthorne ( 1095849 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:50PM (#21898390)
    I may not be looking at the whole picture here, but isn't this sort of decision going to have a tower-of-babel-like effect? Are search engines going to be able to index sites using the alternative character sets? Isn't there at least some risk of two different sites at least appearing to have identical URLs? Or is this really an attempt by countries like Russia and China to selectively cut their populations off from the public internet while not in actuality doing so? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that American English should be imposed on the rest of the world (I'm not that guy!), but the system in place was founded on such and I see this really mucking up the works..
  • Re:Great!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <> on Thursday January 03, 2008 @03:26PM (#21899044) Homepage Journal

    they are not the same character. Not historically

    And yes, they are the same character, historically speaking. Both characters were borrowed from a common Greek/Semitic ancestry. Cross pollination of Latin and Cyrillic languages have lead to Cyrillic renderings of the letter that are more or less the same as the Latin rendering. [] [] [] []
  • Re:Great!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Maimun ( 631984 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @03:38PM (#21899248)

    No, the characters only look the same to a human eye. To a computer they would look quite different:
    This is precisely why Cyrillic symbols are not used in DNS. It is possible to have two URLs, one having latin letters only, the other one latin and cyrillic, that look exactly the same in most fonts but are completely different as strings, so if they are resolved by DNS they'd resolve to distinct IP addresses. This is just perfect for phishing attacks: you can't tell whether is the URL of your bank "MyBank", or it has a Cyrillic "a" and is registered by the attacker, by simply lookong at it. To tell if the URL is genuine one must examine it with hex editor ro something...
  • Re:Great!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CuriousCuller ( 1198941 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @09:23PM (#21904026)
    I live in Poland, more specifically in Przemysl on the Ukrainian border so I'm exposed to both alphabets more or less daily. I must confess, I envy the Easterners! The Latin alphabet is really not suited to Slavic tongues and I think the Cyrillic one is a far superior way to render them. For example, in Cyrillic you get one nice little letter looking like w with a tail, whereas we get szcz... if you're an English speaker, it'd be something like the sh ch between freSH CHeese. Anyway, the inadequacies of the Latin alphabet is why Polish sometimes ends up looking like a cat walked across the keyboard and totally bewildering to anybody living west of the river Oder. Consider this little gem: w Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie i Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie - and that's without actually using any of the eight accented letters. Basically, horrible things were done in the past to squeeze a square peg into a round hole and that's why Polish has ended up with rather random letter combinations like cz, ch, rz, sz, szcz etc. in order to get 36 sounds out of a measly 23 letters (Polish doesn't use v, x or q)... Cyrillic is far more efficient all things considered - with one letter for each distinct sound. Alas, we're stuck with what we have now... a pity.
  • Re:Great!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Friday January 04, 2008 @06:50AM (#21907578) Homepage
    Sts Cyril and Methodius did not invent the Cyrillic alphabet. They invented only the Glagolitic alphabet. The Cyrillic alphabet was invented in the Kingdom of Bulgaria nearly a century later.

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