Food for thought from ICANN London
Three times a year, mega-organization ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) co-ordinates a mass meeting event to discuss the state of the Web, a topic that there's no shortage of discussion for these days. The conference addresses every area of the large amount of ground the corporation covers, from Internet providing in less developed countries to stakeholders to the ever-present issue with American Internet Service Providers. For those of you who weren't able to fly over the pond to make the event, here are the things you need to know.
ICANN's Fadi Chehadé addresses friction with U.S. Government
One of the main ongoing discussions during the conference addressed the changing relationship with ICANN and the United States, and president and CEO Chehadé spoke to the issue shortly before the event began. According to CIO, the shift was cited as a positive change, though there is persistent friction on either side of the argument.
"I think this is a meeting where the ICANN community has to deal with the fact, the good fact, that its relationship with the U.S. government, which characterized its birth, its existence and growth, has now run its course," Chehadé said.
While ICANN was created in and is still based in the United States, the Edward Snowden-led data breach that revealed the U.S. government's aggressive spying habits changed the attitude of ICANN, whose primary function is the maintain an open Internet with by managing protocol numbers and domain name system roots. With the United States out of the running for the country with the most involvement in this critical spoke in the Web machine, the massive meetup gave other countries the opportunity to network within what ICANN hopes will be a more diverse, internationally represented organization without too many members from the U.S. or Europe, as Chehadé cited was often the case for other organizations. Though the company released a plan for the transition out of the U.S. government system, the potential for involvement for other countries remains a bit of a wild west.
International development and record participation
Not surprisingly, the ICANN meeting in London experienced a record number of attendees, many from other countries who are hoping to join the movement that Chehadé described as a need for all countries to participate on "equal footing." China was the focus of quite a bit of praise when they announced their intentions to adopt DNSSEC deployment into their basic web practices, which is a technology that can be added to a Domain Name System that authenticates data.
Other stakeholders from the United Kingdom were praised for their forward-thinking Internet policies, which led to further discussion on global accountability and collaboration throughout the week's jam-packed itinerary. Increasing accountability was another popular topic, likely in response to the National Security Agency issue that put pressure on national and international cybersecurity outlets to let their consumers know exactly what their data was being used for. Although the U.S. will no longer be the primary stakeholder in the organization, coverage of the event indicated that members of ICANN and international representatives seem pleased with the direction of the company.
In the end, Chehadé summed the events of the meeting up best in his opening keynote.
"ICANN 50 is a milestone meeting for many reasons, not the least of which is the remarkable affirmations of the multistakeholder model it has brought," he said, and international branches of cybersecurity certainly stepped up to the plate.
The next ICANN summit will take place in their hometown of Los Angeles, CA this October, and is projected to draw an equally impressive number of attendees.