Vint Cerf at ICANN by Veni (CC BY 2.0)

Vint Cerf at ICANN by Veni (CC BY 2.0)

Internet Governance

CIRA and IISD Team Up For Survey

CIRA and IISD have teamed up on a survey focusing on CIRA's potential role on Internet policy matters.  The survey is available here.

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October 13, 2009 Comments are Disabled News

CIRA And The Disappearing Public Interest Mandate

Rick Anderson, a long-time CIRA director, appears this week on TVO's Search Engine to respond to recent criticisms of the dot-ca domain authority.  Host Jesse Brown asked Anderson to address my recent column focused on CIRA's disappointing performance in the realm of its social mandate.  Anderson responded: "Doing things beyond […]

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October 7, 2009 4 comments News

Time To Vote: CIRA Board Elections Open Until September 30th

I have been fairly critical of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority in recent months as I sense a discouraging drift away from its mandate of serving the broader public interest.  The best way to influence CIRA is through the Board of Director elections.  This year there are four spots open […]

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September 27, 2009 6 comments News

CIRA Should Give Out Domains, Not Door Prizes

CIRA, the agency that administers the dot-ca domain name, holds its annual general meeting in Toronto today.  Attendees will vie for door prizes and hear from executives about the growing number of Canadian domain name registrations, the robust financial health of the organization, and a small list of corporate by-law amendments.  Yet as CIRA moves into its second decade, my weekly technology law column (homepage version, Toronto Star version) argues the promise of a leading Internet voice in Canada and an active, engaged membership is gradually fading away.

Engaging Canadians was viewed as a top priority during the organization’s early years (I was a board member from 2001-06).  Meetings were held in communities across the country in an effort to educate Canadians on the dot-ca and to encourage participation in Internet governance issues.  The annual general meeting was webcast to ensure all Canadians could attend, even if only virtually. While CIRA never managed to become a household name – many registrants simply want their website or email to work without regard for bigger policy issues – it could count on hundreds of Canadians to vote for the board of directors, participate in consultations, and show their interest in how Canada’s domain name space should be managed.

Today, most of that interest and energy has disappeared.  CIRA has been largely absent from the public policy issues of the day and few members show much interest in its governance.  This year, only three people were able to muster the necessary 20 indications of member support in order to appear on a board of director ballot.  In fact, one member became so frustrated with CIRA’s support for election debate that he created his own site at Perhaps the greatest failure, however, has been the stagnation in parlaying the organization’s financial success into a bigger contribution to the Canadian Internet landscape.  Rather than focusing on Canada’s domain name registration statistics, where Canada ranks in the middle of the pack as compared with other developed countries, it is worth considering how it has fallen behind other country-code domain names in allocating resources toward Internet public interest initiatives.

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September 22, 2009 4 comments Columns

CIRA Should Give Out Domain Names, Not Door Prizes

Appeared in the Toronto Star on September 21, 2009 as In Search of Smart New Domain Name Initiatives The Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the agency that administers the dot-ca domain name, holds its annual general meeting in Toronto later this week.  Attendees will vie for door prizes and hear from […]

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September 22, 2009 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive