Within ICANN are numerous structures and constituencies that provide a voice for private sector stakeholders. Among the most active is the Business Users Constituency of the Generic Names Supporting Organization. For the first in a series of blogs from business stakeholders within ICANN, we asked the recently elected Chair, Chris Wilson, to share his views of the road ahead.
ICANN As An "Adult": Dawn of a New Era – By Chris Wilson, Vice President, Government Affairs, 21st Century Fox & Chair, ICANN GNSO Business Constituency
Born in the mid-1990s, the commercial Internet has now reached the "age of majority." Concomitant with the commercial Internet's development and growth has been that of ICANN. Indeed, ICANN is where the commercial Internet, for all intents and purposes, begins.
It is for this reason that ICANN's Business Constituency (BC) takes seriously its role as the voice of business users within the ICANN community. As Chair of the BC, I marvel at the breadth and depth of its membership and its ability to find consensus among diverse interests to ensure that ICANN's activities and policies create a stable, secure, and open Internet for the benefit of free expression and commerce. No constituency group has participated in ICANN's policy-making more than the BC, thanks largely to the yeoman efforts of the BC's Vice Chair for Policy, Steve DelBianco. Indeed, there are times when the BC is the only entity commenting on certain policy issues within ICANN. This level of engagement will certainly continue this year, as vitally important policy matters will be discussed, including the next-generation Registry Directory Services, application of all Rights Protection Mechanisms for all generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs), and the use of ICANN's gTLD auction proceeds [PDF, 723 KB].
To be sure, 2016 will arguably be the most important in ICANN's history. Under the management of a new CEO, Göran Marby, ICANN will be embarking on a new chapter in its history as it goes out on its own, free from U.S. government oversight. And as is the case with any young adult breaking away from their parents, such independence brings additional responsibility. In this vein, 2016 will serve as the starting point for the implementation of new accountability mechanisms within ICANN – mechanisms that empower the multistakeholder community, including the BC, to ensure ICANN works for them and not the other way around.
Of course, as the Internet's reach spreads globally, so too does the BC's need to expand and grow. In the past few months alone, the BC has welcomed such companies as Microboss Technologies (Nigeria), Symantec (U.S.), and Louis Vuitton (France). We look forward to continuing outreach, especially to the developing world.
If you are reading this and would like to join the BC, please check out our website: bizconst.org. There you can find further information on what the BC does, as well as a membership form.
See you in Marrakech for ICANN 55!
Attending ICANN55? Get ready in three easy steps:
- Watch the recording of our ICANN55 preparatory webinar "What to Expect at ICANN55 - A Guide for Business Stakeholders" to learn more about the meeting, the Business Constituency, and other ways you can participate at ICANN.
- Read the ICANN54 Business Digest to get up to speed with the latest policy developments and topics of interest. You can find previous versions of the Digest in various languages here.
- Join us in Marrakech on Sunday, 6 March 2016 for a Welcome Lunch for Business Stakeholders starting at 12:00 local time in the Jardin Andalou room. RSVP here.