Last week I had the pleasure of attending my second Canadian Internet Forum (CIF), which was held at the Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Ontario. Though a beautiful venue, in an equally beautiful city, I think CIF may have to look for another room or venue next year on account of extremely high interest and participation.
The room was packed as attendees heard from leaders in business, government, civil society, academia, and the Internet technical community discuss issues vital to the future of the Internet and its governance.
The day started with a multistakeholder panel on the IANA Stewardship Transition and Enhancing ICANN Accountability processes. Canadians are already helping lead the way in these community-driven practices that have resulted worldwide in more than 450 working hours, 20,000+ mailing list exchanges, and more than 280 events. The panel offered attendees a chance to hear from Milton Mueller of the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group, Fiona Alexander from the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), as well as Wolfgang Kleinwächter and George Sadowsky of the ICANN Board. After hearing from the panelists, and getting a sense of where the processes stand, attendees broke out into small working groups to discuss how Canadians can be more engaged in these specific endeavors.
The importance of a successful conclusion to the transition and accountability processes meant that the topics loomed large throughout the entire day. However, much like the global Internet Governance Forum, CIF explored issues that go beyond the realm of ICANN. Author and PEN International President John Ralston Saul gave an impassioned keynote address on Internet policy issues as it relates to preserving the freedom of expression. The afternoon was dedicated to discussing Canada’s role in broader Internet governance – an inspiring conversation as Canadians deal with issues such as privacy and security.
As we move closer to the ICANN 53 meeting in Buenos Aires and the global multistakeholder community moves closer to delivering a proposal to NTIA on the transition and accountability, CIF serves as a reminder of the dedication that Canadians have to ensuring that a secure, stable, and interoperable Internet is available to all.
CIF’s regional counterpart, the IGF-USA, will take place on July 16 in Washington, D.C. Take a look at the full 2015 CIF agenda, as well as some of the latest research on Canadian views on Internet Governance.
Joe Catapano is Program Manager, ICANN Global Stakeholder Engagement for North America