August 22, 2011

ICANN Chief Heralds Domain Name Changes: Report


A recent interview with the chief of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) touted the changes implemented by the once-unknown, non-profit organization since he took the post in July 2009.

In an interview with Computerworld, former ICANN President and CEO Rod Beckstrom clarified that he won’t step down from the leadership post, but instead is fulfilling the three-year term he agreed to serve in 2009.

“That was a commitment I made, and that was the understanding I came to with the board. I wanted to give the board notification of my decision so that we could get on and recruit another CEO and have an effective transition,” Beckstrom told Computerworld.

He also highlighted some of the major ICANN developments since his leadership commenced two years ago, pointing to internationalized domain names, “bringing foreign language scripts, such as .china and Chinese characters, into the Internet and DNNSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions).”

Tooting his own horn, Beckstrom also said ICANN was virtually unheard of before he came on board as president and CEO two years ago.

“When I came here most people had never heard of ICANN. And if they had heard of it, few respected it,” he told Computerworld. “We have clarified to the world what ICANN is. Simple descriptions that are clear and evocative, such as 'One World One Internet,' have gone global and have helped people understand what we do. We have turned into a world-class non-profit organization.”

The interview also details the goals and challenges behind ICANN’s planned expansion of generic Top Level Domains (gTLD).

According to ICANN’s website, the “not-for-profit public-benefit corporation” group was formed in 1998, “with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers.”

Most recently, Beckstrom served as the director of the National Cybersecurity Center at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where he reported to the secretary of DHS, and was charged with cooperating directly with the attorney general, National Security Council, Secretary of Defense, and the Director of National Intelligence. At age 24, Beckstrom started his first company in a garage apartment and, subsequently, grew it into a global enterprise with offices in New York, London, Tokyo, Geneva, Sydney, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong. CATS Software Inc., went public and later sold, according to Beckstrom’s biography on the ICANN website.

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Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell



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