By Olubunmi Adeniyi
Lagos. February 20, 2013: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced the selection of Lanre Ajayi, President of Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) as one of the members of the Expert Working Group (EWG) on generic top-level domains (gTLD) directory services.
Ajayi is the Managing Director of Pinet Informatics Limited, one of the first ISPs in Nigeria and current president of ATCON has served as the Vice-Chairman of the Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN) and Africa ISP Association (AfrISPA).
He is a founding member of AfriNIC and has also has served as a member of the National Cybercrime Working Group of Nigeria.
He currently serves as a Generic Names Supporting Organisation (GNSO) council member appointed by the Nominating Committee (NomCom) and is based in Nigeria.
On December 13, 2012, Fadi Chehadé, ICANN’s President and CEO, announced the creation of an Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services (EWG) and invited volunteers to submit applications to indicate their interest in serving on it.
The EWG is the first step in fulfilling the ICANN Board’s directive to help redefine the purpose and provision of gTLD registration data. This project is designed to provide a foundation for the creation of a new global policy for gTLD directory services, and requisite contract negotiations, as appropriate.
According to a statement by the body, over 70 highly qualified experts from across the Internet ecosystem were considered. In selecting the EWG, each candidates’ operational knowledge and experience with registrant data or directory services (or analogous systems) was considered, along with consensus-building skills, aptitude to innovate, geographic diversity, and other published criteria.
After an extensive evaluation of each candidate, 14 individuals were selected to participate in the project.
Others selected alongside Ajayi are Pekka Ala-Pietilä, Co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Blyk, a mobile media company based in Finland; Scott Hollenbeck, Director, Verisign Labs based in the US; Jin Jian, Assistant General Director and Director of CNNIC R&D Centre at CNNIC, based in the People’s Republic of China; and Susan Kawaguchi, Domain Name Manager at Facebook. She is based in the US.
Others are Nora Nanayakkara, UK based expert in start-ups and SMEs in the digital and technology spaces, with particular experience in registry and registrar operations; Michele Neylon, Ireland based CEO of Blacknight Internet Solutions, an Irish registrar, and sits on the Eurid Registrar Advisory Board; Michael Niebel, Belgium based head of the Task Force on Internet Policy Development in the Directorate General CONNECT of the European Commission; and Rod Rasmussen, US based co-founder, President and CTO of Internet Identity (IID).
Also on the list of members include, Carlton Samuels, West Indies based independent international ICT4D consultant and an adjunct lecturer at the University of the West Indies; Faisal Shah, US based founder and former CEO of a corporate brand protection registrar –MarkMonitor; Fabricio Vayra, US-based Assistant General Counsel for Time Warner Inc.; as well as Stephanie Perrin, Canada-based doctoral researcher focused on privacy enhanced authentication technologies, and is recognized as an international expert in privacy and data protection and the social impact of technology.
“To join them on the project are Jean-Francois Baril, Lead Facilitator of the EWG; Steve Crocker, Board Liaison to the EWG; Chris Disspain, Board Liaison to the EWG. The EWG is expected to commence its analysis and deliberations immediately, with the objective of discussing its progress online and with the community at the Beijing ICANN Meeting,” according to the statement.
In the mandate of ICANN, a Board-directed Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) policy development process (PDP) is expected to follow the work of the EWG to evaluate the policy implications of the EWG’s recommendations.
The EWG’s objectives are to define the purpose of collecting and maintaining gTLD registration data, and consider how to safeguard the data, as well as provide a proposed model for managing gTLD directory services that addresses related data accuracy and access issues, while taking into account safeguards for protecting data.
The EWG will be informed by Internet stakeholders’ activities, and the extensive work of the GNSO work over the last decade. The group also will consider the WHOIS Policy Review Team Report, address key questions set forth by the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC), and take into consideration current and future Internet operations and services.
In addition, the EWG will address concerns of the parties who provide, collect, maintain, publish or use gTLD registration data as it relates to ICANN’s remit.
The EWG’s activities are expected to be conducted from February through May 2013 and may be extended, if needed. Work will be conducted online and through conference calls and periodic face-to-face meetings.