So why should you vote for me to be a member of the CIRA Board of Directors? Three things: an understanding of how technology evolves and makes new things possible; a creative forward-looking outlook; and, experience;
I am a generalist with a bit of a knack for seeing technical possibilities coming, long before they arrive. As examples, in 1981 I started a company with the vision of today's common memory card in mind (though not at such high capacities or low cost). In 2000 I started a company and developed Internet-connected door locks (like those you can now get at Best Buy for $200). Both ideas were ahead of their time but have come to pass. There's more info in my CV.
I focus on seeing possibilities. What can be done? How are technologies and capabilities going to develop? What can go wrong? Seeking the answers has been the focus of my career.
When I first became aware of the commercial Internet in early 1993 and had a "eureka" moment in 1994 (realizing I could access my emails both at home and at work!) an early action was to register my own name as a domain, both mclintock.com and mclintock.ca. At OCRI, I worked on demonstrating capabilities of broadband communications – news distribution, musicians playing together remotely, remote provision of medical services, remote education and others; capabilities now taken for granted that in the mid 1990s seemed wonderful to contemplate.
In the most recent 10 years of my career, I have shifted more to the "what can go wrong?" question – providing threat/vulnerability/risk assessments. This actually uses the same mind-set, and skills, and imagination as does seeking the answers to the other two questions. My experience includes involvement in founding, and on the Boards of six businesses, including Kinaxis Inc., now a stock-market listed company. My Board experience also includes 4 not-for-profit organizations including financial oversight as well as strategic planning. On each Board I have been able to contribute something that the organization needed and that was not otherwise available.
I have degrees in Physics and Engineering and, until my recent retirement, I was a Professional Engineer in Ontario (P.Eng.) and a security practitioner (CISSP). I also have credentials and experience in Critical Infrastructure Protection and risk assessment and management. My interests in being involved with CIRA are a) to help advance the expansion of broadband Internet access in Canada in remote and Northern communities where such access will provide employment, educational, and medical treatment opportunities, especially to indigenous peoples; and b) to help improve the security of Internet access to all Canadians and Canadian infrastructure.
CIRA can help lead this work through its influence and technical expertise as well as via current programs such as the Community Investment Program, DNS Firewall, CIRA Canadian Shield and Awareness Training. I support the continuation and expansion of these efforts and the creative development of new initiatives.
Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.
The primary role of CIRA is the management, administration and promotion of the .ca top level country code domain and the operation of the needed registry functions . The objective is to ensure that use of the .ca domain is representative of Canadian organizations and individuals and engenders pride in Canadians and Canadian organizations and institutions. In addition, CIRA promotes awareness in Canada of Canada's role in the governance of the Internet and why this is important for Canadians. The Canadian Internet Governance Forum brings together Government officials, industry, thinkers and academics to help understand all the implications and changes that are occurring in the many affected areas of technology. CIRA also deploys tools to help keep Canada and Canadians secure on-line and to protect the privacy of Canadians. In a time of rising threats, particularly those from state-sponsored (or, at least, state-sanctioned) threat actors. Theses tools and awareness training from CIRA are important.
Why do you want to be on CIRA’s Board of Directors?
My primary interests in being involved with CIRA are a) to help advance the expansion of broadband Internet access in Canada, particularly in remote and Northern communities where such access will provide employment, educational, and medical treatment opportunities, especially to indigenous peoples; and b) to help improve the security of Internet access to all Canadians and Canadian infrastructure.
I believe CIRA can help lead this work through its influence and technical expertise as well as via current programs such as the Community Investment Program and the Canadian Internet Governance Forum. CIRA can also help expand Internet Exchange Points in remote and Northern locations.
Cyber security is an increasing problem world-wide, especially in connection with critical infrastructure. CIRA already provides unique aid to Canadian citizens and businesses through programs such as DNS Firewall, CIRA Canadian Shield and Awareness Training. I support the continuation and expansion of these efforts and the creative development of new initiatives. I have specific skills and background in cyber security, protection of Critical Infrastructure, and risk management and I have experience in conceiving of issues and solving problems in advance of their becoming obvious or critical. I can contribute my forward-outlook, long history of thinking about and developing applications, and a strong understanding of the issues of financing new ventures. I have also researched, thought and written about the challenges facing Canadian telecommunications infrastructure and the best practices at policy and operational levels for mitigating these threats.
My career has been a continuous demonstration of focus on seeing possibilities. What can be done? How are technologies and capabilities going to develop? What can go wrong? I believe these skills are valuable to CIRA in achieving its goals.
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. Cyber attacks – especially well funded/state sponsored or supported attacks from outside Canada. This will be an on-going challenge with new aspects arising frequently. CIRA has already developed some tools to help (DNS Firewall, CIRA Canadian shield). Expanding this tool set would be useful. Finding financially sustainable ways to promote these tools in the wider Canadian population would help by driving wider adoption.
2. Keeping Canadian Data in Canada is potentially, a growing issue. The Canadian government requires contractors to ensure that Government data remains within Canada's boarders. This can be a challenge to establish and prove, especially for smaller companies and organizations. As we have seen in the past 4 years, Canadians can no longer assume that the US is, for practical purposes, as safe and secure as Canada in terms of where we store our company information, host web sites etc. If feasible, CIRA could help in establishing a norm in Canada that .ca data remains in Canada by default. At least, CIRA could raise awareness in Canada of this issue and work with governments to make this easier and cheaper.
3. Increasing impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on privacy and security – This is a rapidly evolving area in which the details of challenges are difficult to forecast. AI systems could be developed to skirt CIRA registration requirements, presenting CIRA with the challenge of mitigating such threats effectively.
1. expanding broadband access to remote and Northern Communities. While funding such expansion is not within the CIRA mandate, such initiatives are within the Federal Government stated objectives on investing in infrastructure and supporting indigenous communities. CIRA could provide advice, technical expertise, and awareness to move this forward. Growing the number of Internet Exchange points in the North would improve service as well as security and privacy protections to users there.
2. Growing Canadian Internet Exchange Points and raising awareness among Canadians of the privacy and security concerns associated with cross-boarder data flows.
3. The evolution of Smart Cities. This may be beyond the five-year horizon. However, with the advent of 5G networks, autonomous and connected vehicles and IoT there will be many new opportunities. The potential growth in use of the .ca domain, may actually be a capacity challenge.