Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Department of Commerce’
Larry Strickling, administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and assistant secretary for communications and information at the U.S. Department of Commerce, gave a mini-keynote talk at IGF-USA 2011. NTIA is the executive branch agency that is principally responsible for advising the U.S. president on communications and information policies. Prior to his work for the Obama Administration Strickling worked as a policy coordinator for Obama for America, as a regulatory officer at Broadwing Communications, a department head at the FCC, a VP for Ameritech and a litigation partner at the Chicago law firm Kirkland & Ellis.
Details of the Session:
To begin the final plenary session for the day, Larry Strickling, an administrator for the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA), took to the podium to discuss recent activity in the world of Internet governance, particularly the recent Internet Cooperation for Assigned Names and Numbers conference in Singapore and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development meeting in Paris.
“We are at a very critical time in the history of the Internet,” he said, mentioning disputes among international organizations, including some governments that have recently called for increased regulation of Internet activity.
Strickling said he contributes the success of the current Internet and the way it is, or isn’t governed, to the multi-stakeholder approach, which can only be sustained and advanced when there is participation.
Last December, Strickling said, he helped complete a review of ICANN and submitted 27 recommendations to their board, all of which have been adopted.
“Now the focus turns to ICANN’s management and staff,” he said.
He also applauded ICANN’s acceptance of proposals made by the Governmental Advisory Committee regarding generic top-level domain names.
“The fact that not all the proposals were adopted does not represent a failure of the process or a setback in progress but reflects the reality of the multi-stakeholder model,” he said.
At the OECD’s meeting in June, representatives from government, the private sector, civilians and the field of technology met to discuss and develop the “Internet economy.”
“Participants at the meeting agreed to a communiqué on policy making principles and will create the conditions for an open, interoperable, secure and continually innovating Internet,” he said.
Strickling added that the intent was not to harmonize global law, but was to provide a global framework.
He then moved on to where the world could go next after the advancements of the past few months.
“More importantly, what’s the call of action for all of you?” he said, later concluding that the audience’s job was to advocate for a multi-stakeholder approach, not a treaty-based approach to developing policy.
Strickling reminded participants about the approaching July 29 deadline for comments on NTIA’s IANA Functions Contract, the first time that NTIA has sought public input.
He then concluded that the U.S. government is committed to multi-stakeholder solutions, and then reiterated the need for international cooperation and a focus on the process, not necessarily the outcome and adherence to developments already made, while taking questions from Cade and Michael Nelson of Georgetown University.
“If all that happens with the OECD principles and people file them away in a filing cabinet, then we’ve failed,” Strickling said. “These are only useful if they become a tool that we can now use as an advocacy basis for the rest of the world.”
In 2009, Strickling was appointed by the Senate to serve as assistant secretary for communications and information at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
During her introduction, Marilyn Cade said that Strickling’s reach went far and wide.
“The scope of his responsibility extends to impact on global decisions and global actions,” she said.
As an administrator with NTIA, Strickling is responsible for advising President Barack Obama on matters related to communications and information. He has extensive experience in technology policy and telecommunications both for the government and in the private sector.
- Rachel Southmayd
Marilyn Cade, chair of the IGF-USA Steering Committee, led a closing discussion that also included remarks from Markus Kummer, executive administrator for the global IGF Secretariat; Larry Strickling, assistant secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce; and Deimante Bartkiene, a representative of the Lithuanian Embassy, invited IGF-USA attendees to the global IGF, taking place in Vilnius, Lithuania, Sept. 14-17.
Details of the session:
Marilyn Cade, president of ICT Strategies, asked the gathered audience during the closing session of IGF-USA 2010 to suggest at least five ways the IGF process can be improved in the future. She received more input than that. Here are a few of the ideas:
- The “users reign” scenario isn’t based in reality right now. The only way the scenario can come to fruition is if the people involved in global IGF efforts help design it and make it work.
- People should not demonize innovative companies that make mistakes. When companies take risks, let them fail, call them out but don’t overreact or issue calls for new laws to stop an experiment from ever happening again.
- The people involved with IGF should embrace transparency, inclusion and collaboration. Inclusion, in particular, means reaching out to parties that don’t show up to participate in opportunities like IGF-USA. The IGF effort should increase awareness, extend more outreach and have broader information available to people.
- The organizers of IGF should extend participation, particularly remote participation (ability to “attend” virtually, online), to the conferences.
- The Internet is inherently not like real life, and the more we try to make it like real life, the less appealing it will be to users. The people participating in the discussions at IGF should to keep this sentiment in mind going forward.
- The IGF organizers should more clearly articulate the roles of the different Internet stakeholders and organizations, define and implement a funding model for IG and enact some form of output for the IGF itself.
- The IGF should have more voices from emerging markets and the private sector at the table.
- A final piece of advice: Make sure what the people involved in IGF ask for is going to gain the best result. Don’t change the mandate, just renew.
Strickling said in his closing remarks that the U.S. government is committed to the continuation of the IGF in its current form. He said allowing a multistakeholder discussion will only enhance the accessibility of the Internet.
“Internet stakeholders across the globe are committed to this type of forum,” he said. “We want to make sure IGF is not just about dialogue. We need to make sure lessons learned from these discussions are put into action. I don’t imagine I am alone in thinking that open dialogue in IGF is an ideal way to enhance trust in these stakeholders.
“Changes that place one group above another in IGF would ultimately undermine this model.”
Kummer closed by saying that the IGF mandate will be up for a vote in the United Nations’ General Assembly later this year, and he added that the general assembly should almost certainly vote to extend the IGF mandate. But he’s concerned about what kind of changes might be suggested.
“Now we will have to find synthesis between two tendencies: the Internet will stay with us and nation-states will stay with us,” Kummer said. “We see the IGF as a synthesis between these two tendencies.
“I hope they will not do much tweaking moving on. All of you can have a role to play in this by reaching out, talking to governments.”
Click here to go to the main site used by
the organizers of IGF-USA: http://www.igf-usa.us/
-Colin Donohue, http://imaginingtheinternet.org
The 2009 IGF-USA session description of this panel is: “Critical Internet Resources (CIR) and the evolution of the Internet’s technical foundations are a central theme of Internet governance debates. Three foundational technological changes – IPv6 (the ‘new’ version of the protocol for the Internet); secure DNS (domain name system security) and secure routing – will underpin the dialogue between key experts from the Internet community, business and government. The successful implementation of these technologies can expand and improve the security of the Internet’s core infrastructures, but deployment raises significant challenges for Internet infrastructure providers and policy makers, and has implications for governance arrangements.”
Brenden Kuerbis, operations director for the Internet Governance Project, based at Syracuse University, served as moderator for a panel that included Alain Durand, director and IPv6 architect, office of the CTO of Comcast; David Conrad, VP for research and IANA Strategy for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN); Fiona Alexander, associate administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce; and Stephen Ryan, general counsel for the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN).
Kuerbis noted that documents drawn up during the World Summits on the Information Society suggest that critical Internet resources should be managed through global agreements.
“In the third year of IGF, control of CIR was raised forcefully by a member of the Chinese delegation,” Kuerbis said.
Going forward, the management of critical Internet resources is likely to become more contentious. - Brenden Kuerbis
He noted the implementation of IPv6 and attempts to introduce more security will complicate the management of CIR.
David Conrad said there are critical Internet resources at all layers of the Internet infrastructure. Not all are being discussed at IGF. “You need electricity, you need IP addresses, routing infrastructure, ports,” he said. “In my experience in the IGF context the focus has only been on a select set of resources – those that are involved in what ICANN does. Electricity is more important than whether or not you can get a domain name. There is a focus on the developed world.”
He added that DNS security and routing are important topics that once again tend to have the policy dialogue centered around ICANN. “It is a place where most of the decisions are made around critical Internet resources – it is a community, just like the RIRs are communities that develop policies in a community-driven, bottom-up process. I encourage you to participate in these meetings.”
Stephen Ryan of ARIN discussed the Regional Internet Registries and their role in CIR. There are five recognized registries located in regions around the world. They were established in the 1990s. He said each “develops policies in its own regions regarding Internet numbering and associated issues.” The leaders of the five registries also meet to set common global policies. The boards are voluntary, and anyone is invited to participate in the process of governing the RIRs. These organizations provide Whois service and assign and give out numbers – IP addresses.
There was some discussion of the fact that IPv4 addresses are being depleted. This was anticipated years ago, and IPv6 is being adopted. “What’s our biggest challenge in regard to critical Internet resources?” he asked. “The numbers resources and the switch to IPv6. The fixed number of IPv4 numbers the free pool of remaining IPv4 resources is small.
Clearly we’re going to have to run IPv4 and IPv6 systems in tandem and that’s going to cause problems. Not many people in America understand IP numbers and that their modems won’t work. - Stephen Ryan
He closed by smiling and saying, “Buy Cisco stock, that’s a tip.”
Alain Durand of Comcast spoke as a panel member who could speak to the CIR concerns of large technology companies.
We are trying to actively participate. The bottom-up policy process has been successful. It has been flexible enough to meet all of our demands and we would like it to go on. - Alain Durand
The depletion of IPv4 addresses is of concern, he said. “If you are a large service provider with many customers and you are growing you are going to be impacted more than individual users,” he said. “We have been concerned about imbalances between the RIRs in the world and that is why we have been participating in RIPE discussions, LACNIC discussions and participated in this process as a member of the community.”
Fiona Alexander of NTIA agreed that too much of the discussion of the World Summit on the Information Society text is absorbed by “people’s preoccupation with the domain name system.”
“The network is so decentralized,” she said in reference to the global Internet and the people engaged in working toward its evolution, “but the one organizing group everyone recognizes tends to be ICANN. When you read the WSIS text it explicitly says there are things beyond domain names. We should look at other things as a national priority and as we go into the global discussion of critical Internet resources.”
She said people in government are recognizing they need to understand the layers of architecture to understand its evolution and address needs.
“As the discussion is progressing in our own government about issues related to Internet or telecommunications you really have to understand the network architecture to make smart policy.
You have to more and more understand the different layers of this network. Governments are listening they are interested in these issues. - Fiona Alexander
She added that governments know the uptake of IPv6 is important. “This is on the agenda of governments,” she said. “Our own government is struggling with this. We are working closely with NIST as we look at these issues – it helps that we are both in the Department of Commerce. It’s one of the things we are looking at as we assess the transitions that are fundamental to the network.”
-Janna Anderson, http://www.imaginingtheinternet.org