IGF 2016 – Open forum: ICANN

7 Dec 2016 16:00h - 17:00h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the 11th Internet Governance Forum]

Mr Chris Disspain, Board Director, ICANN, the session moderator, introduced Mr Göran Marby, CEO, ICANN, who discussed ICANN’s philosophies. Marby highlighted transparency as a key factor that ICANN is working on improving. Marby focused on the current push to penetrate rural areas, giving the opportunity for more local content.

Disspain opened for the floor to questions. A member of the Youth IGF asked if ICANN would expand the Next Gen and Fellowship Programme, and whether more money would be invested in young persons within the IG sector.

Mr Steven DelBianco, Executive Director, NetChoice, commented that youth need more engagement versus meeting attendance, such as being involved with the working groups over several months. DelBianco encouraged new participants to join the effort to find consensus on critical matters.

Mr Alfredo Calderon from ISOC Puerto Rico spoke about his experience at an ICANN meeting and subsequent working groups. He highlighted the need for fellowship funding to cover travel costs for those who are not so young and are interested in participating.

A member of the European Parliament asked about the key challenges facing ICANN. Marby reminded the audience that the ICANN community sets the priorities and the board implements them. He noted the request for a new TLD program supporting local scripts, and increased accountability as matters to be addressed.

Mr Alan Greenberg, Member, ICANN ALAC, spoke about the strengths and weaknesses of the multistakeholder approach with various motivations and targets, but closed by lauding the diversity which he saw as strengthening the process.

Mr Tijani Ben Jemaa, Member, ICANN ALAC, and Director, Fédération Méditerranéenne des Associations d’Internet,  responded to the earlier funding comment by stating that not everyone can be sponsored to attend meetings. This is why there are meetings all over the globe to encourage local support for the various meetings and drive greater involvement.

Dr Steve Crocker, Chair, ICANN Board of Directors, endorsed the comments on accountability and raised the topic of security and stability. While ICANN is not responsible for overall security of the Internet there is still a key role to be played in improving credibility and trust.

A member of the audience raised a current concern about US President-elect Donald Trump and his views concerning the question of the Internet Archive principals trying to get crowdfunding to put a copy of their data in Canada.

Mr Jordan Carter, CEO, Internet NSEZ spoke about ICANN’s constitution and the long history of American support and patronage, and does not see the song of nationalism getting in the way of that.                                                                      

Marby took a few moments to compare the Internet to a car and the growing realisation that knowledge of the workings of the Internet was required for the legislative proposals and discussions to be properly informed. Disspain pointed to the distinction between the workings of the Internet and the World Wide Web for clarification.

Mr Henry Rõigas, Researcher, NATO CCDCOE, from Estonia, raised the question of security and the latest attacks in October. Crocker responded by addressing the Internet of Things (IoT) Distributed Denial of Service DDOS attack on Dyn, a Domain Name System service provider. He indicated that ICANN does not have a premier role with internet security.

Crocker discussed preventing devices from being so easily enlisted in an attack on a service provider. He also mentioned that other DNS providers would need to review their systems, but ICANN does not have direct oversight here.

An audience member advocated for the use of security tools like Secure Sockets Layer SSL, and Pretty Good Privacy Security (PGP SEC) for protection. Mr Salvador Camacho, Kalpa Protección Digital, Mexico, asked why personal information was required to register a domain name and what does ICANN do to prevent breaches of personal data.

The board’s response was that there is a lot of ongoing work in ICANN with registry directory services, and there are many conflicting opinions with law enforcement being keen on having as much data as possible available, while privacy advocates advocate for the opposite. Camacho was encouraged to join the debate and be part of the conversation amongst the working groups.

In the closing remarks, Crocker thanked all for participating and encouraged persons to recommend persons to the nominating committee and to bring their expertise to the community. 

by Andre Edwards, Trinidad and Tobago