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Building a better Internet for all Canadians

By Byron Holland
President and CEO

CIRA announces recipients of its new Community Investment Program to build a better online Canada.

We made an exciting announcement at CIRA last week with the release of the names of the organizations that will receive funding through our new Community Investment Program (CIP). In 2014, 28 organizations from across Canada will share in more than $1.2 million to help build a better Internet for Canada.

As the stewards of .CA – Canada’s online identifier – CIRA occupies a unique and important space. While our number one priority is the safe and secure management of the .CA top-level domain, we also have a mandate to do ‘good things‘ for the Internet in Canada. In the past, this has meant working with organizations in the Canadian Internet ecosystem on a variety of issues, from establishing Internet Exchange Points to building digital literacy skills for young Canadians.

The new CIP allows us to take a major step forward in advancing Canada’s Internet. Take Simon Fraser University (SFU), for example. With $47,000 in funding from the CIP, a team at SFU are developing a web-crawler program that can identify images of child sexual abuse. It will enable law enforcement to identify child pornography online, without the tedious – and gruesome – task of viewing photos and videos of abuse online. This new technology, called Child Exploitation Network Extractor, will make the Internet a safer place for Canadians. I’m proud CIRA was able to play a role in its development – as a parent, keeping kids safe from predators is very important to me. SFU’s initiative has already received a fair amount of media attention – check these articles here and here.

This is just one example of how we are supporting Canada’s Internet through the CIP. There are 28 more, and as those projects evolve we’ll be sure to share their stories with you. These initiatives run the gamut from local level access projects to infrastructure development, from surveillance and privacy initiatives to digital skills development and online service provision. And while the funded initiatives represent a wide variety of sectors and Canadian geography, they have one thing in common: they are all innovative projects that advance the Internet in Canada.

I’d like to say a special thank you to CIRA’s Board of Directors and the Community Investment Committee (CIC) for their hard work on the CIP. The CIC, an arm’s length committee of CIRA Board members and industry experts, were responsible for reviewing nearly 150 applications for funding. They truly went above and beyond with their work on the 2014 CIP. By working with organizations that are ‘on the ground’ in Canada’s Internet ecosystem, we believe these projects are well-positioned to achieve the goal of the CIP to enhance the Internet for the benefit of all Canadians.

About the author
Byron Holland

Byron Holland (MBA, ICD.D) is the president and CEO of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), the national not-for-profit best known for managing the .CA domain and developing new cybersecurity, DNS, and registry services.

Byron is an expert in internet governance and a seasoned entrepreneur. Under Byron’s leadership, CIRA has become one of the leading ccTLDs in the world, with over 3 million domains under management. Over the past decade, he has represented CIRA internationally and held numerous leadership positions within ICANN. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for TORIX, and is a member of the nominations committee for ARIN. He lives in Ottawa with his wife, two sons, and their Australian shepherd, Marley.

The views expressed in this blog are Byron’s opinions on internet-related issues, and are not necessarily those of the organization.