Vint Cerf Says: ICANN Needs You! | Vint Cerf, Internet founder, talks candidly about future of Internet corporation as chairmanship draws to a close; asks for people with a "passion for the Internet" to apply
Internet pioneer and founder Vint Cerf has spoken candidly for the first time about the end of his chairmanship at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and has put out a call for people to join the organisation to help the Internet's "continued evolution".
Cerf has been chairman of ICANN almost since its inception, but after seven years, he is standing aside in November to make way for others passionate about the Internet.
In an interview on the subject — posted to the ICANN website, the video site YouTube as well as his employer's Google Video website — Cerf stressed that it is "difficult to underestimate the importance of ICANN" because it is "responsible for policy with regard to certain technical aspects of the Internet". ICANN helps ensure that the Internet remains interoperable and, in the words of Cerf "in the absence of interoperability, we don't have an Internet".
Looking back on his days as chairman, Cerf reviews how the Internet has exploded and become a hugely important economic driver. And how, as a result, "responsibility for policy has become making increasingly important because of the economic impact and because of political implications."
ICANN's Nominating Committee is currently accepting applications from anyone interested in taking part in ICANN, with a deadline of 18 May 2007, and Cerf said he hoped this process would find people with "a passion for the Internet".
"If I were looking forward, wondering what kind of people I would want to see serving," he said, "I would look for people who are sincere in their ability to participate — really are prepared to spend the time that is needed — and who have clear understanding of the functions of ICANN and understand what the limitations are."
Speaking about ICANN, he said: "ICANN is a creation, it's an invention that I don't believe is mirrored by many other structures in the world... We are inventing new kinds of practices for the establishment of policy."
Other attributes Cerf said the organization required, are financial skills and general creative thinking. As for the decisions ICANN makes, they have become "harder and harder because the complexity of decisions has increased and their importance has increased".
Adding that ICANN is still adapting as the Net continues to evolve, Cerf argued: "If you really care about how the Internet evolves, then you want to be a part of this apparatus... Your views and perspectives won't be heard unless you participate. An individual can make a difference."
ICANN's Nominating Committee is still accepting applications for key roles within the organisation and its site can be found at http://nomcom.icann.org.
ICANN is responsible for the global coordination of the Internet's system of unique identifiers like domain names (like .org, .museum and country codes like .uk) and the addresses used in a variety of Internet protocols that help computers reach each other over the Internet. Careful management of these resources is vital to the Internet's operation, so ICANN's global stakeholders meet regularly to develop policies that ensure the Internet's ongoing security and stability. ICANN is an internationally organized, public benefit non-profit company. For more information please visit: www.icann.org.
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