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David Mackey

Slate: Member
Province: Ontario
X (formerly Twitter)

Candidate Statement

The story of CIRA is a story of innovation started by a small technical community using a culture of bottom-up, open, and participatory cooperation. The success of the Internet has driven the vital need to have good Internet governance at the heart of Canada’s Internet ecosystem. Good Internet governance requires soliciting input from a diverse set of stakeholders across Canada. CIRA has a unique role in our emerging digital society.

CIRA must promote a trusted Internet which provides reasonable privacy, security and allows content creation balancing the needs of human communication across the conflicting dynamics of free speech, hate speech and the weaponized spread of disinformation. CIRA must also be a champion for information literacy.

The Canadian Internet has the potential to improve the lives of all Canadians. Access to high speed Internet is important, but it’s not enough. CIRA must also encourage access to knowledge. CIRA must champion access to content found in reputable institutions like public libraries.

CIRA’s future story must lead Canada towards providing public service stewardship which is connected to the needs of Canadian citizens. CIRA must not be distracted by meaningless growth objectives. CIRA must remain true to its original mandate of public service.

My story includes a background in technology, management, starting a business, as well as volunteering on my local Public Library Board.

I have a deep understanding of technology and Internet Governance.

I have an appreciation for the commercial impact being felt by consumers and businesses.

I have Public Library Board experience which shows a desire to serve the public interest.

I know I have the right background and the right voice to help build a stronger Internet that benefits all Canadians. My background gives me the necessary experience to be a strong independent voice on the CIRA Board of Directors.

I strongly feel, in spite of all the positives, CIRA can be a better institution than it is today.

CIRA should be a leader to other Canadian Not-For-Profit corporations in the areas of transparency and accountability. Unfortunately, CIRA is moving in the wrong direction. CIRA has more work to do here to be a true leader.

Rather than embracing and partnering with members, the board has created barriers which interfere and obstruct member-to-member communication. Using the false excuse of wanting to block email spam, the board has actually blocked the use of member contact information needed for membership engagement to be available only to those who can afford it. We need independent voices on the board to stop this direction. We need to go back to the origins of being a bottom-up, open and participatory membership driven community.

With all of this in mind, I humbly ask that you consider voting for me to become a member of the CIRA Board of Directors.

I look forward to giving a strong voice for all CIRA members on CIRA’s Board.

Mandatory Questions

1. Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.

Does CIRA manage the ccTLD Registry for the .CA domain? Yes, this is the original public service mandate given to CIRA. Public service should remain a core anchor to all of CIRA’s operations.

Does CIRA give a portion of its revenue to worthwhile Canadian Internet projects? Yes.

Does CIRA pursue revenue from non ccTLD registry and domain name dispute resolution services as a Canadian Not-For-Profit corporation? Yes.

Does CIRA facilitate conversations with Canadians on important Internet issues in Canada? Yes.

What do these different aspects of CIRA have in common? CIRA is a unique organization in Canada which brings an authoritative voice to issues across the spectrum of Canadian Internet Governance. As such, it’s critical that CIRA champions Responsible Internet Governance in Canada.

Responsible Internet Governance must account for multi-stakeholder economic and civilian interests.

Responsible Internet Governance fosters innovation and creativity in Canadian Culture, Commerce, Education and Democracy. Responsible Internet Governance is required to protect Canadians’ security and privacy from unwanted surveillance and/or threats.. Responsible Internet Governance is required to create a trustworthy Canadian Internet.

We’ve experienced a technology revolution that started with low-cost computing and was magnified by the availability of low-cost connectivity on the Internet. Technology innovation on the Internet continues to permeate our world disrupting all segments of Canadian society, especially evidenced during the pandemic. The digital disruption causes confusion, and therefore, there’s an opportunity for education on how to best leverage the possibilities of the Internet. CIRA needs to be a responsible leader of the Canadian Internet leading Canadians through these disruptive times.

If left unchecked, forces of the status quo will stifle individual freedoms. These forces will allow the Internet to be used as an Orwellian surveillance tool to watch all aspects of our lives. Lack of privacy and security on the Internet will inhibit building positive relationships built on trust. Lack of trust hurts all net citizens, private and commercial. Responsible Internet stewardship is required to navigate these uncharted policy waters..

I wish to join the CIRA board of directors, because I want CIRA to be a responsible player on the Canadian Internet as a new Canadian digital society emerges through the disruption.

Additionally, I also have specific constituencies that I want to represent on the Board of Directors.

These constituencies are …

Consumers and Small Businesses have much to gain from an open, transparent and trusted Internet, but neither of these stakeholders have the same ability to be heard that larger organizations inherently have. I wish to add my voice on behalf of consumers and small business owners to the Canadian Internet governance conversation.

Freedom of individuals to have a voice on the Internet must be protected. I wish to represent average Canadians who want our civil liberties protected but at the same time also want to be protected from anonymous economic and democratic threats.

With these goals in mind, I ask you for the chance to help create a trustworthy shared Internet that benefits all Canadians.

2. Why do you want to be on CIRA’s Board of Directors? In responding, please indicate how you would contribute as a CIRA Board Member and what specific skills and experience you bring that makes you a qualified candidate.

I want CIRA members to be part of today’s conversation on how Canadians are best served by the Internet. The voice of CIRA members is being lost as CIRA matures. It’s easy to get distracted by the vision of CIRA as being a high-tech startup. CIRA is an institution that serves the public interest of the Canadians. The Internet is full of over-hyped visions used to distract from underlying realities. But being tricked by an imaginary vision means we lose a connection with ordinary Canadian citizens. I want to make sure CIRA remains connected to the needs of ordinary citizens.

My volunteer work with the ICANN At-Large community shows a commitment to ensuring civil society remains connected with the technical, business and governmental stakeholders of our shared resource, called the Internet. I’d like to bring my commitment to the At-Large community to the CIRA membership. The current board has lost this connection. It’s time to elect a board member who will enhance member-to-member connection, not inhibit it. My years of learning about how Internet Governance works would be an asset to CIRA’s board.

My volunteer work on my local Public Library Board is also an asset that would be useful to CIRA’s board. Being on the board of a public service oriented institution helps me see how a single voice can collaborate with others to create an organization that delivers excellent service to a local community. Public service should be a core goal of CIRA’s board.

Although my technical knowledge and experience is extensive, I recognize that connecting with people at a human level is the most important skill that I bring to the board. My entire career has been built around connecting people using complex systems. At its core, CIRA faces this same problem … how to connect with Canadians in order to help them understand our emerging digital society.

My work experience ranges from managing complex projects in large businesses, to helping small businesses harness the power of digital marketing to connect with customers via the Internet, as well as, simply exploring the expanding universe of the Internet as an ordinary, curious, Internet citizen. I have three decades of knowledge that crosses technical, business and human connection at different levels. The CIRA board needs a variety of skills. Technical expertise can not be delegated.

My technology background includes a solid understanding about how the Internet works, including knowledge of optical networks, TCP/IP Routers & Switches, IETF and other protocols (including DNS), Multi-Tiered Application Systems & Application Server knowledge (for voice, video, business applications, digital marketing platforms, etc.). I also have extensive software development and customer support experience both as a programmer and as a manager.

I believe the combination of my technical and Internet governance background, my work experience with large and small businesses, my public library board experience and a focus on the needs of Internet Citizens gives me a unique perspective that will bring a valuable voice to the Board of Directors of CIRA.

3. What do you think are the top 3 challenges and opportunities facing CIRA in the next 3 to 5 years? What approach would you take to address these issues?

1) Member-to-Member Communication – CIRA members do not have enough opportunity to engage with other members throughout the year. CIRA puts an effort into creating a highly structured online member engagement and interaction process during the Board of Director elections, but once the AGM is over, online engagement between members disappears until the next highly structured membership event. What’s worse, the board has recently enacted a policy to make membership contact information only available to those members who can afford to pay for it. This is a bad situation for the good governance of CIRA. This is a bad example to other Canadian Not-For-Profit companies in Canada.

I believe we need a member communication & collaboration space that remains open all year long. The Internet gives us many low cost options available that must be explored. The pursuit of new revenue directions must not distract CIRA from enabling more member-to-member communication. Without member-to-member communication, it’s hard to believe CIRA is truly a member driven organization.

Members wanting to participate in this type of unstructured membership engagement can join the “CIRA Members” Facebook group found at this link …

2) Accountability and Transparency Review – I believe it’s important to have a periodic review of CIRA’s execution of its commitment to maintain and improve robust mechanisms for public input, accountability, and transparency so as to ensure that the outcomes of its decision-making reflect the public interest and are accountable to the Canadian Internet community.

The above wording comes mostly from ICANN’s commitment to transparency and accountability. I believe CIRA can use ICANN as a model to improve its governance structure.

3) Education & Knowledge Sharing – As the Internet evolves, CIRA needs to move beyond just focusing on technical and operational security. It needs to become educated and opinionated on how Internet users operate in a way that benefits Canadian society. Today’s Internet brings a new opportunity for responsible Internet governance. CIRA has a chance for leadership here.

Small businesses, local communities, need an internet that enables life long learning. Institutions like public libraries can help Canadians on their journey of lifelong learning.

CIRA has a responsibility to communicate a vision for the Canadian Internet that includes how the Internet can be used as an investment towards information literacy and support of knowledge building institutions.

For example, I believe there are still too many small businesses in Canada that do not have a website. More education is needed to help small businesses get on the Internet. It would be great for CIRA to continue producing blog posts focused on helping small businesses. This work is not yet done.

View David Mackey’s CV