ICANN58 – Opening ceremony

20 Mar 2017 01:00h

Event report

The ICANN58 opening ceremony took place 18 years after ICANN held its first meeting. Mr Jean-Jacques Sahel, Vice President, Europe (Global Stakeholder Engagement) at ICANN, started the meeting off by presenting the speakers.

The first speaker was Dr Steve Crocker, Chair of the ICANN Board of Directors, who shared some interesting facts about Denmark, such as it being one of the most connected countries in the world: Danish people are largely accessing the Internet through mobile devices linked to the nation’s 100% 4G cellular systems, which last year facilitated a 97% Internet penetration rate.

Crocker introduced the key topic of the ceremony: transparency. He said that the ICANN Board is increasing its transparency and that they are engaged in a pilot programme to a consider opening some of their sessions. He also mentioned that the organisation’s direction is clear and that their top priorities are to continue strengthening their technical orientation and the security of the domain name system (DNS). Crocker finished off by highlighting the work of the community towards this aim and he emphasised that empathy and mutual respect should be the basis of all discussions.

Ms Mette Bock, Danish Minister for Culture, talked about the use and importance of the Internet for Danish people. She said that the country is in the top ten of the UN ICT development index and that Danish people are the most advanced Internet Users in the European Union. She underlined the key and critical role that ICANN plays in coordinating and developing the DNS. She further remarked on the importance of new accountability mechanisms within ICANN. Bock thanked the community for their work during the IANA stewardship transition process.

Sahel then gave the floor to Prof. Henrik Udsen, Chair of the Danish Internet Forum (DIFO) & DK Hostmaster, who noted that the multistakeholder model is a vital component in creating a robust solution to many challenges that we currently face, both at a national and international level. An example is the fight against Internet crime, in which the DNS plays an important role.

The next speaker was Mr Göran Marby, President and CEO of ICANN, who started off by highlighting the power of the Internet in giving opportunities to people who would otherwise have none. However, he highlighted that users’ needs are changing and that we need to take these needs into account. He went on to share some of the actions that ICANN is taking in order to be more transparent. One of them is the recent creation of the Complaints Office as an additional way for the ICANN organisation to be accountable for and transparent about its performance. Marby explained that it will work with ICANN’s various internal complaints processes to assist improvements and collect data about complaints received across the organisation.

The last speaker was Mr David Conrad, ICANN Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, who announced that on 11 October 2017, ICANN will be changing the root zone key signing key (KSK). Before this happens, DNS operators who have enabled DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) validation must update their configurations. To assist operators, ICANN has launched a testbed for them to determine the readiness to support the KSK rollover.

At the end of the ceremony, participants were treated to a special performance by the Tivoli Youth Guard.