12 September 2012

Why Supporting the CIRA Election Matters

Canada is a world leader in internet technologies.  We have some of the brightest and most innovative people and companies in the world inventing new technologies that are shaping the future and giving us a competitive edge.

We typically think about the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) in terms of the .CA Internet Domain.   CIRA is the organization given authority by the Government of Canada to act as the registry for the .CA Internet Domain and to provide professional registry services.  However, CIRA also has the responsibility to develop, carry out and support other Internet-related activities in Canada and to do things to attain all of these objectives.  Thus, it’s a wider scope than name registration.  While name registration is important, other factors also are becoming increasingly important for the Canadian Internet.  

The internet is becoming integral to how businesses and governments operate as well as how citizens of Canada interact with each other and with organizations.  In addition, a highly effective, functioning and open internet is critical to supporting the flow of open data and information needed to solve many of the challenges facing governments and citizens.  

As a platform for innovation and job creation in Canada, the stability, sovereignty and integrity of our Canadian Internet is critical for Canadian businesses to be able rely on it for their business needs and continue to invest in research and technology development that will keep us at the forefront of the internet frontier.

The internet is vastly different than it was when CIRA was created in 1998.  Back then, .ca name registration was the primary objective and other internet related issues were secondary.  Today it is imperative that the Canadian Internet be recognized as key infrastructure and as something that Canadians rely upon and are key stakeholders in.  To date, Canada has taken a largely “go with the flow” approach to how we operate our part of the Internet.  We’ve had a lot of success, but increasingly we are seeing challenges that we need to address to ensure continuing success.  Challenges include technical challenges such the deployment and adoption of of IPv6 and DNSSEC, integrity challenges such as corporate influence, and political challenges such as interference by foreign governments.  Meeting these challenges requires concerted effort by Canadians who are dedicated and passionate and also up to technical demands of the problems.  

For these reasons and others, I am a member of CIRA (any Canadian who owns a .CA domain name can apply for a CIRA membership).  Being a member enables me to have a say in how the Canadian Internet is run, as well as vote for the candidates that I believe are best able to meet our upcoming challenges in the Board of Directors elections.  

I will be voting for Kevin McArthur in the upcoming election.  Kevin has many skills and talents.  In this context, the ones that I see as critically important are that he understands the Internet, the technologies and what is at stake for us as Canadians; he is a successful business person, entrepreneur and innovator; he is a supportive and outspoken community leader; and he is passionate about what’s best for Canadians.  You can find out more about him here.

If you take a moment and think about how the internet has affected your life and your work, and how much you rely on it I hope you’ll agree that it’s worth your time to take part in this election.  I invite you to register with CIRA, become a member and cast your vote.