Caribbean voices joining global Internet debate

LOS ANGELES – The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)—the entity that controls key bits of the Internet—gathers in Los Angeles this week to tackle an array of hot issues, in particular, governance of the Internet.

“Governments want to exert control over the sweeping transnational power of the Internet that is affecting their policies, politics, social fabric and/or their economic conditions,” ICANN chief executive Fadi Chehade told the media, days before this week’s ICANN 51 meeting, which will continue through October 16.

 The dynamic between ICANN’s policies and the national or international laws regulating human society is complex, and is overseen by a dedicated committee within ICANN.

“ICANN receives input from governments through the Governmental Advisory Committee, or GAC,” explained Albert Daniels, ICANN’s stakeholder engagement manager for the Caribbean.

Many Caribbean voices were recently welcomed to the GAC, clearing the path for the region to more effectively take part in the high-level discussion on the future of the Internet.

“Within the last 12 months several Caribbean territories and one regional organisation have been admitted as members to the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC),” Daniels said. “The new territories with official GAC representatives are Dominica, Grenada, Barbados, Dominican Republic and Saint Lucia.”

The Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) became a GAC observer in 2013, he added.

“With the addition of these new GAC members, the Caribbean region has an expanded opportunity to impact global policy related to matters of Internet governance with input from one of the important stakeholders—governments, and in particular governments from the Caribbean.”

The new GAC members join Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Cayman Islands and Montserrat who were previously members of the GAC.


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