The Internet Revolution is far from over. Responsible Internet Governance is a critical job that requires soliciting input from a diverse set of stakeholders across Canada. CIRA has a unique role in our emerging digital society. It's important for CIRA to remain connected with small businesses and individual domain name owners who want a safe, secure Internet that benefits all Canadians.
I believe it's vitally important for small businesses and individual domain name owners to be faithfully represented when forming policies which govern the Canadian Internet.
Our stewardship of the Canadian Internet will be a failure if we only create a digital space dominated by the interests of massive global technology corporations. The needs of small domain name owners should not be lost as CIRA grows beyond its original mandate of just being a country code Top Level Domain registry. The risk of CIRA becoming disconnected from its members increases as CIRA expands.
CIRA must promote a Trusted Internet which provides reasonable privacy, security and allows content creation balancing the needs of human communication across the conflicting dynamics of free speech, hate speech and the weaponised spread of disinformation.
High speed Internet access must continue to expand to every Canadian. The Canadian Internet has the potential to improve the lives of all Canadians. CIRA must lead Canada into the future by providing stewardship which remains connected to the needs of Canadian citizens and is not distracted by growth objectives that stray far beyond its original mandate.
The potential for the Internet to have a positive impact on Canada cannot be understated. However, many risks exist which can seriously undermine the potential of this shared resource. The CIRA Board of Directors is an important forum where conversations take place seeking to find the right balance between the sometimes competing interests. I believe my background gives me a unique perspective to represent small businesses and individual domain name owners in this important conversation.
I have a diverse background in technology, management, starting a business, as well as, supporting small businesses to find success on the Internet. This background gives me the necessary experience to be a strong advocate for the small business and consumer stakeholders on the CIRA Board of Directors.
Please allow me to summarize my qualifications …
I have a deep understanding of the technology forces within the Internet.
I have an appreciation for the commercial impact being felt by consumers and businesses.
I have the ability to provide a strong voice for consumers and small businesses on the CIRA Board of Directors.
I know I have the right background and the right voice to help build a stronger Internet that benefits all Canadians.
With all of this in mind, I humbly ask that you consider voting for me to become a member of the CIRA Board of Directors.
I look forward to giving a strong voice for all CIRA members on CIRA's Board.
Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.
Does CIRA manage the CC TLD registry for the .CA domain? Yes
Does CIRA give a portion of its revenue to worthwhile Canadian Internet projects? Yes
Does CIRA pursue non CC TLD registry service revenue as a Canadian Not-For-Profit corporation? Yes
Does CIRA facilitate conversations with Canadians on important Internet issues in Canada? Yes
What do these different aspects of CIRA have in common? CIRA is a unique organization in Canada which brings an authoritative voice to issues across the spectrum of Canadian Internet Governance. As such, it's critical that CIRA champions Responsible Internet Governance in Canada.
Responsible Internet Governance must account for multi-stakeholder economic and civilian interests. At the same time, Responsible Internet Governance must allow innovation on the Internet to continue without impedance.
Responsible Internet Governance fosters innovation and creativity in Canadian Culture, Commerce, Education and Democracy. Responsible Internet Governance is required to protect Canadians' security and privacy from unwanted surveillance and/or threats. Responsible Internet Governance is required to create a trustworthy Canadian Internet.
We've experienced a technology revolution that started with low-cost computing and was magnified by the availability of low-cost connectivity on the Internet. Technology innovation on the Internet continues to permeate our world disrupting all segments of Canadian society, especially evidenced during the pandemic. The digital disruption causes confusion, and therefore, there's an opportunity for education on how to best leverage the possibilities of the Internet. CIRA needs to be a responsible leader of the Canadian Internet leading Canadians through these disruptive times.
If left unchecked, forces of the status quo will stifle individual freedoms. These forces will allow the Internet to be used as an Orwellian surveillance tool to watch all aspects of our lives. Lack of privacy and security on the Internet will inhibit building positive relationships built on trust. Lack of trust hurts all net citizens, private and commercial. Responsible Internet stewardship is required to navigate these uncharted policy waters..
I wish to join the CIRA board of directors, because I want CIRA to be a responsible player on the Canadian Internet as a new Canadian digital society emerges through the disruption.
Additionally, I also have specific constituencies that I want to represent on the Board of Directors.
These constituencies are ...
Consumers and Small Businesses have much to gain from an open, transparent and trusted Internet, but neither of these stakeholders have the same ability to be heard that larger organizations inherently have. I wish to add my voice on behalf of consumers and small business owners to the Canadian Internet governance conversation.
Freedom of individuals to have a voice on the Internet needs to be protected. I wish to represent average Canadians who want our civil liberties protected but at the same time also want to be protected from anonymous economic and democratic threats.
With these goals in mind, I ask you for the chance to help create a trustworthy shared Internet that benefits all Canadians.
Why do you want to be on CIRA’s Board of Directors?
Communication technology has connected people over centuries. Electronic communication has changed the world … the telegraph, telephone, radio, TV & computers connected by the Internet … always more people … always more potential and risk.
I want to be part of today's conversation on how Canadians are best served by the Internet. I don't want the voice of small businesses and individual domain name owners to be lost as the Internet matures and as CIRA enters unexplored territory beyond its original remit. It's easy to get caught up with utopian visions and lose an important connection to ordinary Canadian citizens. I want to make sure CIRA remains connected to the needs of ordinary citizens.
Although my deep technical knowledge and experience is extensive, I recognize that connecting with people at a human level, not just using corporate "speak", is the most important skill that I bring to the board. My entire career has been built around connecting people using complex systems. At its core, CIRA faces this same problem ... how to connect with Canadians in order to help them understand our emerging digital society.
My work experience ranges from managing complex projects in large businesses, to helping small businesses harness the power of digital marketing to connect with customers via the Internet, as well as, simply exploring the expanding universe of the Internet as an ordinary, curious, Internet citizen. I have three decades of knowledge that crosses technical, business and human connection at different levels. The CIRA board needs a variety of skills. Technical expertise can not be delegated in this space.
My technology background includes a solid understanding about how the Internet works, including knowledge of optical networks, TCP/IP Routers & Switches, IETF and other protocols (including DNS), Multi-Tiered Application Systems & Application Server knowledge (for voice, video, business applications, digital marketing platforms, etc.). I also have extensive software development and customer support experience both as a programmer and as a manager.
I've participated in telecommunication standard meetings where multiple vendors and operating companies work towards creating technical standards that allow multiple interests a voice in coming up with working protocols. My recent volunteer work with the ICANN At-Large community shows a commitment to ensuring civil society remains connected with the technical, business and governmental stakeholders of our shared resource, called the Internet.
I believe the combination of my technical background, working experience with large and small businesses and a focus on the needs of Internet Citizens gives me a unique perspective that will bring a valuable voice to the Board of Directors of CIRA.
What do you think are the top 3 challenges and opportunities facing CIRA in the next 3 to 5 years? What approach would you take to addressing these issues?
1) Member-to-Member Communication: CIRA members do not have enough opportunity to engage with other members throughout the year. CIRA puts an effort into creating a highly structured online member engagement and interaction process during the Board of Director elections, but once the AGM is over, online engagement between members disappears until the next highly structured membership event. In fact, last year's AGM proved to be a highly unsatisfactory way to conduct member-to-member communication.
I believe we need a member communication & collaboration space that remains open all year long. The Internet gives us many low cost options available that must be explored. The pursuit of new revenue directions must not distract CIRA from enabling more member-to-member communication. Without member-to-member communication, it's hard to believe CIRA is truly a member driven organization.
2) I may sound like a broken record, but I believe there are too many small businesses in Canada that still do not have a website. More education is needed to help small businesses get on the Internet. It would be great for CIRA to continue producing blog posts focused on helping small businesses. This work is not done.
3) In the last few years, it has become hard to ignore the evidence that shows how the Internet is being used as a highly sophisticated surveillance system. Not only that, but the surveillance system is being weaponized to spread disinformation for surreptitious influence campaigns targeting fundamental Canadian knowledge institutions. As the Internet evolves, CIRA needs to move beyond just focusing on technical and operational security. It needs to become educated and opinionated on how Internet users operate in a way that benefits Canadian society. Today's Internet brings a new opportunity for responsible Internet governance. CIRA has a chance for leadership here.