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

Peter Saint-Andre <stpeter@stpeter.im> Wed, 05 July 2017 22:58 UTC

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To: Adam Roach <adam@nostrum.com>, The IESG <iesg@ietf.org>
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Cc: draft-ietf-precis-7564bis@ietf.org, precis@ietf.org, precis-chairs@ietf.org
From: Peter Saint-Andre <stpeter@stpeter.im>
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Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2017 16:58:09 -0600
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Subject: Re: [precis] Adam Roach's Discuss on draft-ietf-precis-7564bis-08: (with DISCUSS)
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On 7/5/17 3:41 PM, Adam Roach wrote:
> Adam Roach has entered the following ballot position for
> draft-ietf-precis-7564bis-08: Discuss
> 
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> The document, along with other ballot positions, can be found here:
> https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-ietf-precis-7564bis/
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> 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> DISCUSS:
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> 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).

Good catch. Yes, we could add a carve-out for characters from the ASCII
repertoire when the context is Internet applications that use such
characters.

(It's not *necessarily* the case that all applications using PRECIS are
Internet applications or involve ASCII characters - e.g., perhaps an
application deployed on a closed intranet within, say, the Chinese
government could still use the PRECIS rules to handle input and output
strings, without any ASCII characters ever shown to end users.)

Peter