[precis] Adam Roach's Discuss on draft-ietf-precis-7564bis-08: (with DISCUSS)

Adam Roach <adam@nostrum.com> Wed, 05 July 2017 21:41 UTC

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From: Adam Roach <adam@nostrum.com>
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Cc: draft-ietf-precis-7564bis@ietf.org, Marc Blanchet <Marc.Blanchet@viagenie.ca>, precis-chairs@ietf.org, Marc.Blanchet@viagenie.ca, precis@ietf.org
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Date: Wed, 05 Jul 2017 14:41:20 -0700
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Subject: [precis] Adam Roach's Discuss on draft-ietf-precis-7564bis-08: (with DISCUSS)
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Adam Roach has entered the following ballot position for
draft-ietf-precis-7564bis-08: Discuss

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Section 12.5 contains the following normative statement:

>  Furthermore, because most languages are typically
>  represented by a single script or a small set of scripts, and
>  because most scripts are typically contained in one or more
>  blocks of code points, the software SHOULD warn the user when
>  presenting a string that mixes code points from more than one
>  script or block, or that uses code points outside the normal
>  range of the user's preferred language(s).

This guidance seems broadly unimplementable for any users whose native language
uses a non-Latin script. Due in large part to the Internet's ASCII heritage,
and combined with the somewhat ubiquitous use of Latin characters for other
worldwide purposes (e.g., a quick perusal of Russian- and Chinese-language web
sites shows numerous examples of Latin representations for things like stock
ticker symbols and metric abbreviations), it seems that the normative
requirement to warn when "presenting a string that... uses code points outside
the normal range of the user's preferred language(s)" will *either* warn
non-Latin-character users almost constantly (if Latin is considered outside the
range), or be broadly useless in preventing spoofing (if it is).

I'm not clever enough to come up with a generalized solution for users of all
alphabets, so don't have a generic proposal here; but I think that the guidance
does at least need to be properly scoped so that it bears only on warning Latin
alphabet users of the presence of non-Latin characters, while acknowledging
that it is probably rather useless when used in the opposite direction. I
imagine that it still makes sense to warn non-Latin users of non-Latin
characters outside the codepoints used by their language (e.g., warning Greek
speakers of the presence of Cyrillic characters).