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We made an exciting announcement at CIRA last week with the release of the names of the organizations that will receive funding through our new Community Investment Program (CIP). In 2014, 28 organizations from across Canada will share in more than $1.2 million to help build a better Internet for Canada.

As the stewards of .CA – Canada's online identifier – CIRA occupies a unique and important space. While our number one priority is the safe and secure management of the .CA top-level domain, we also have a mandate to do ‘good things' for the Internet in Canada. In the past, this has meant working with organizations in the Canadian Internet ecosystem on a variety of issues, from establishing Internet Exchange Points to building digital literacy skills for young Canadians.

The new CIP allows us to take a major step forward in advancing Canada's Internet. Take Simon Fraser University (SFU), for example. With $47,000 in funding from the CIP, a team at SFU are developing a web-crawler program that can identify images of child sexual abuse. It will enable law enforcement to identify child pornography online, without the tedious – and gruesome – task of viewing photos and videos of abuse online. This new technology, called Child Exploitation Network Extractor, will make the Internet a safer place for Canadians. I'm proud CIRA was able to play a role in its development – as a parent, keeping kids safe from predators is very important to me. SFU's initiative has already received a fair amount of media attention – check these articles here and here.

This is just one example of how we are supporting Canada's Internet through the CIP. There are 28 more, and as those projects evolve we'll be sure to share their stories with you. These initiatives run the gamut from local level access projects to infrastructure development, from surveillance and privacy initiatives to digital skills development and online service provision. And while the funded initiatives represent a wide variety of sectors and Canadian geography, they have one thing in common: they are all innovative projects that advance the Internet in Canada.

I'd like to say a special thank you to CIRA's Board of Directors and the Community Investment Committee (CIC) for their hard work on the CIP. The CIC, an arm's length committee of CIRA Board members and industry experts, were responsible for reviewing nearly 150 applications for funding. They truly went above and beyond with their work on the 2014 CIP. By working with organizations that are ‘on the ground' in Canada's Internet ecosystem, we believe these projects are well-positioned to achieve the goal of the CIP to enhance the Internet for the benefit of all Canadians.

Byron Holland

Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for Internet governance, Byron’s leadership has brought CIRA to the forefront of innovation. At CIRA, Byron has led a wholesale rewrite of the .CA registry and related policies and business rules. Under Byron’s leadership, CIRA has expanded its product and service offerings to Canadians and .CA has become one of the fastest growing country code top-level domains (ccTLD) in the world.

Byron has developed a strong international profile for CIRA and the .CA top-level domain. He is vice-chair of the Country Codes Name Supporting Organization (ccNSO), the body that represents the interests of all country code top-level domains and leads policy development initiatives at ICANN, and is Chair of ICANN’s Customer Standing Committee (CSC). Byron is also an active participant in the United Nations coordinated Internet Governance Forum.

Byron received a Bachelor of Arts with Honours from the University of Western Ontario and a Master of Business Administration from Queen’s University. He also holds his ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

The views expressed in this blog are Byron’s opinions on Internet-related issues, and are not necessarily those of the organization.