ICANN’s New CEO Speaks

ICANN, the non-profit corporation which oversees the backbone of the internet, has a new CEO in the person of Rod Beckstrom, former director of US National Cybersecurity Center. He takes over ICANN in a rather tumultuous time, and during a press conference, he put forth some of his ideas on how ICANN should work. Basic gist: the internet works fine, so there’s little need for change.

“My first reaction was I felt a little bit overwhelmed and amazed at the number of participants, the intellectual calibre and sheer force and magnitude of the community,” Beckstrom said, “There are so many different cultures coming together, having different dialogs, and that’s what I think is magical about the rich ecosystem that is protecting the Internet that ICANN is a part of.”

Recently, the EU reiterated its claim that it’s not right that ICANN is so closely tied to the US government through the joint project agreement via the US Department of Commerce. This agreement expires September 30, and Beckstrom believes it should be renewed, simply because the current ICANN setup is working out so well.

“The system on whole is healthy, but also strained, and part of the strains are natural and part of the democratic process. The process may be noisy, but a stable Internet is what has come out of ICANN,” Beckstrom said, “The DNS system, [the] naming and addressing system has worked with an incredible record of reliability and phenomenal scaling.”

On top of that, he added, 80 countries are already represented in the Governmental Advisory Committee, an advisory organ for ICANN. “Clearly, everyone at ICANN hopes that all the nations in the world will come and participate in that, and it is a vital group that feeds directly into the board, which is the policy decision-making body of ICANN,” Beckstrom said, “So there is already a mechanism there for international participation.”


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