Sunday, March 23, 2014

Building Trust and the "Post Snowden" Internet

  • On March 14, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced plans to give up control of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that manages Internet names and addresses.  Prior to a meeting of ICANN members in Singapore this week, its President and CEO Fadi Chehadé said, “ICANN will lead a transparent dialogue among governments, the private sector, and civil society to determine the transition process and establish a governing body that is globally accountable. This process ensures each of the Internet’s diverse stakeholders has a voice in its governance."
  • On Friday, U.S. President Obama met with Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)Eric Schmidt (Google)Reed Hastings (Netflix)Drew Houston (Dropbox)Aaron Levie (Box) and Alexander Karp (Palantir) to discuss the U.S. government’s “commitment to taking steps that can give people greater confidence that their rights are being protected while preserving important tools that keep us safe” as well as “the issues of privacy, technology and intelligence."  Commenting on the meeting, Dean Garfield, president of the Information Technology Industry Council said, “In response to the NSA disclosures, there has been an acceleration across the globe of economically harmful policies … [it’s] imperative that Congress and the administration show their leadership by helping to repair trust [in the industry]”. Note: MicrosoftLinkedIn and Yahoo were invited, but unable to attend.  


  • Regarding ICANN – While the post Snowden era has increased concerns about the U.S. government’s oversight of the Internet, the management transition of ICANN will likely be a slow process.  In the meantime, the organization which operates the “domain name system” with addresses endings  in  .com, and .org  is considering 100 new addresses including, .buzz and .coffee.  
  • Regarding Obama’s meeting - With most attendees making money from the use of customer data, the discussion likely focused on potential revenue lost rather than increasing privacy.  Bottom line –   “big data” drives significant revenue for many technology hardware, software and services providers, but “trust” remains a critical component for business success.

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