The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names (Icann) and Numbers made progress on a project to expand domain names to more languages and alphabets at a meeting in Sao Paolo last week.

Icann had a "very, very busy and very productive week," said chairman Vint Cerf during a press conference he led with chief executive officer and president Paul Twomey. The group made progress on technical issues related to Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs).

The IDN project is meant to revamp the DNS (Domain Name System) so that it supports domain names from different languages and alphabets, such as Arabic and Chinese, that can't be rendered in the ASCII character set.

The non-profit group that oversees Internet governance also signed what its officials call a "historic agreement" with 22 Internet user groups in Latin America and Caribbean. The Latin America-Caribbean Regional At-Large Organization, or RALO, has the goal of providing individual user input to Icann. This is the first RALO agreement Icann has reached.

Icann further announced that it approved registry agreements for the .biz, .info and .org domains, with a restriction that traffic data cannot be used to disclose domain name registrant, end-user information or other personal data. Traffic data can be used to determine problems with the Internet, including points of failure, attacks on networks, compromised networks and the like. The agreements also put a 10 percent cap on price increases charged by registry operators.

The text of resolutions adopted in Sao Paulo, along with IDN laboratory testing design plans, agreements and matters for which Icann is seeking public comment can be found at the Icann website.