CIRA’s AGM and Canadians Connected 2010

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We’ve all arrived back in the office from Canadians Connected 2010 exhausted, but there’s certainly a sense of renewed energy around the CIRA office.

The staff at CIRA really are on a bit of a high, and deservedly so. We don’t have the final count yet, but I’m pretty sure we more than doubled attendance over last year.

We were also able to facilitate national participation in the AGM by hosting a webcast of the event. Online participants could watch the presentations via video, see the PowerPoint presentations, vote on motions at the AGM, and ask questions.

For the first time, we also utilized a Twitter wall. When going back over the tweets from the event, it’s hard to tell what the most successful aspect was. The majority of the tweets are about the keynotes, but there were also a disproportionate number about the fact that we served ice cream during the afternoon break.

The keynotes were exceptional. I will not forget Terry O’Reilly’s assertion that .CA can be the new proverbial flag on the backpack for Canadians online. I also loved his line about Canadian language: “It’s a language you only understand if it’s in your wind-chill-forged DNA.” I think that’s going to resonate with us again when the snow falls this winter.

I found Mitch Joel’s talk fascinating. Fundamentally, he talked about a shift in the way business is done – according to him, it’s about relationships and stories. The other thing Mitch said that sparked my interest was that cellphones are no longer phones, but remote controls for our lives. Mobile is the future there’s no question.

Our panel of Internet experts was one of the highlights of the entire day for me. To sit on the stage with three of the brightest minds in the Internet world, two who have helped forge the ‘net – John Demco and Paul Vixie, and one who is going to help take us to the next level – Chris O’Neill, was inspiring.

The best moment for me, however, was John Demco reflecting on the fact that he used to sell .CA domain names out of a basement. To think, that’s only a little over 10 years ago. It’s an incredible example of how far we’ve come, and it makes me think about where we are going to be 10 years from now.

The Canadian Internet Governance Forum

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Below is a video of my presentation about the Canadian Internet Governance Forum at the Internet Governance Forum meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania. The presentation was delivered on September 17, 2010. Please note that the sound quality is poor for the first few minutes of the video.

The Internet Governance Forum 2010

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This week I’m in Vilnius, Lithania for the fifth meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). I’ve blogged about the IGF before. The fact that it is an unwieldy and esoteric entity hasn’t changed, and the fact that the outcomes from the IGF are non-binding hasn’t changed either. However, the fact remains that the discussions are incredibly important, and have a strong and lasting impact.

Like usual, there’s no shortage of topics up for discussion. The official agenda includes the following topics:

• Managing critical Internet resources
• Security, openness and privacy
• Access and diversity
• Internet governance for development
• Taking stock of Internet governance and the way forward
• Emerging issues, like cloud computing

The event certainly started off with a bang. Yesterday, Lynn St. Amour, the CEO of the Internet Society criticized the lack of transparency in the development of the ACTA.

Next up, Sami Al-Basheer from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN agency, stated that attendance at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference is open. This came as a surprise to many of us in the audience, given the recently declined request by ICANN president Rod Beckstrom to attend an ITU conference next month. This immediately brought last year’s IGF to my mind, where Beckstrom and a representative from the ITU got into a full-scale, verbal battle in front of more than 1,000 delegates, eventually having to be pulled apart – literally – by the moderator.

I’ll be speaking about our plans for a Canadian Internet Governance Forum at a session 9 a.m. (that’s 2 a.m. ET)  on September 17. If you’re at the Forum, I hope you can attend. If not, the event will be webcast and real time transcription is available. There’s even a social media aggregator for the 2010 Internet Governance Forum. It is a one stop shop to follow the tweets and discussions at the IGF.

I’ll be writing a more detailed blog post about the IGF when I get back to Canada. In the meantime, here’s a couple of photographs from the IGF:

CIRA to redesign .CA registry system

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This is an exciting week for us at CIRA. We announced that we will be launching a new system for registering and maintaining .CA domain names on October 12, 2010. Our new system will make registering and managing a .CA easier and simpler for both our customers and channel partners.

We’ve heard from the people who register .CA domain names that the process can be complicated, so we’ve simplified things. We’ve undertaken a wholesale redesign of the entire .CA registry system – not a single aspect has been left untouched, from technological processes to policies and business practices. Many of the policies that were considered complicated have been rewritten, and the business rules and technical processes that are currently cumbersome will be streamlined. Once we migrate to the new system, CIRA will operate one of the most efficient registries in the world.

This is, without doubt, the single largest project ever undertaken by CIRA. It is the result of two years’ work, and has involved almost every single CIRA employee.

We’re joining a growing number of ccTLDs who’ve adopted EPP, including .UK, .NL .CN, and many others. EPP is the industry standard. The majority of the 200 million domain names worldwide have been registered using EPP. It’s a known quantity, and is becoming the standard for domain name registrations as more and more registries are moving toward adopting it.

Why are we rewriting our system? First off, we’ve been the registry for .CA domain names for 10 years now. We’re about to surpass 1.5 million domain names registered, and our current registry simply wasn’t built to support that number of domain names. It’s time for us to make significant investments in our systems, our infrastructure and our people. Secondly, there are many benefits to the new registry system. The process to register and maintain .CA domain names will be easier and a lot more efficient. We’re also effectively removing ourselves from the day-to-day transactions of maintaining a .CA domain name.

Furthermore, unless .CA Registrants indicate otherwise, domain names will automatically be renewed on an annual basis; you won’t have to go through the renewals process every year. In the end, we will have a much more efficient, cost-effective registry that responds to the needs of .CA Registrants.

For more information about the registry rewrite and what it means to you, we’ve developed a list of frequently asked questions.

Canadians Connected 2010

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Warning: shameless self promotion follows.

We’re very excited about our upcoming AGM.

For the first time in our 10-year history, we’ve expanded our AGM to include an Internet symposium. We’re calling it Canadians Connected 2010, and it really is going to be a great event. We’ve got some excellent speakers lined up, including Terry O’Reilly of CBC’s O’Reilly on Advertising and The Age of Persuasion, and Mitch Joel, blogger and new media/digital marketing expert.

We’ve also assembled a world class panel of some of the world’s top digital thinkers, including Paul Vixie, the president of Internet Systems Consortium, Inc., Chris O’Neill, Google’s new country director for Canada, and John Demco, the co-founder of

At the AGM, we’re going to be taking care of some of CIRA’s important operational business. It’s a great way to get involved in Canadian Internet governance issues, and an effective place to network with folks interested in the Canadian technology world.

The event is free and is taking place September 21 at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto. If you can’t participate in person, the event will also be webcast, including the opening and closing keynote speakers and our panel, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions to our presenters. You’ll even be able to vote in our AGM, provided you’re a CIRA Member.

One quick note – anyone can attend the CIRA AGM and symposium, but to vote in the AGM or the Board of Directors election, you have to be a Member. It’s free and easy to become one.

Register here, connect with others who will be attending on Facebook, and tweet about it using the #CIRA2010 hashtag.