ICANN's CEO encourages global engagement

Chehadé calls on US tech policy activists to work on Internet freedom issues with other nations

U.S. advocates for a free global Internet need to reach out to other nations to encourage their participation in open governance bodies like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization's president and CEO said.

Defenders of a free and open Internet are "facing a pretty dangerous time right now," as countries that want censorship and control of the Internet push their agendas at the International Telecommunications Union and other forums, ICANN leader Fadi Chehadé said late Tuesday.

"I want to lean into this community," Chehadé said. "This is a time of engagement."

During December's World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), members of the ITU were close to passing resolutions that would have given the ITU ICANN's duties and giving nations calling for censorship a greater voice in the coordination of the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS), Chehadé said.

Representatives of many nations at the WCIT meeting couldn't decide to vote with the U.S., western Europe and their allies, or with China, Russia and other countries calling for censorship and ITU control of Internet governance, Chehadé said during the Computer and Communications Industry Association's 40th anniversary celebration.

In many cases, Internet policy officials in developing nations haven't had significant interaction with their counterparts in the U.S. and European nations, Chehadé said. Meanwhile, the Chinese government built and paid for a US$200 million African Union complex in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which opened in early 2012, he noted.

Some African nations have seen the power of the Internet and transformed their economies, said Chehadé, a citizen of Egypt, Lebanon and the U.S. Other Africans see potential, but engagement from U.S. and European Internet activists can help drive the progress, he said.

For many Africans, "it's not about Internet freedom only," he said. "For them, it's about Internet opportunity."

The leader of ICANN since last October, Chehadé told the CCIA crowd of U.S. tech policy leaders he had visited 11 countries in the past month. In some countries, officials at telecom providers had no previous interaction with ICANN, he said.

ICANN is also splitting its Los Angeles headquarters into three, and moving some headquarters functions to Singapore and Istanbul in an effort to better engage the Internet community worldwide, Chehadé said.

Chehadé, a tech entrepreneur and former IBM executive, said global governance issues can help drive the continued growth of the Internet or end its success. It's important for activists now to engage on a global level, he said.

"I truly believe the Internet is one of the last things that unites us all," he said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetComputer and Communications Industry AssociationInternet Corporation for Assigned Names and NumbersInternational Telecommunications UnionFadi Chehadé

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?