Turks and Caicos Islands hold Internet Governance Workshop
March 7, 2016
by Mark Ollig

The Internet Governance Workshop (IGW) recently took place at Beaches Resort, in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The Turks and Caicos Islands are comprised of 40 islands and sandy reefs; eight of which are populated.

These islands are located 550 miles southeast of Miami, FL, just below the Bahamas chain, and to the east of Cuba.

They are home to around 30,000 full-time residents, and play host to more than 200,000 tourists visiting each year.

Last week, I found myself enchanted with Barcelona, and this week it’s the islands off the southeast coast of the US.

Maybe I’m trying to tell myself I need to take a vacation?

But I digress.

The IGW is a joint venture between the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

The workshop focused on current global Internet governance challenges, and Internet issues facing the Caribbean Islands community.

During the IGW, a livestreaming webcast of the speakers was broadcast online.

“The Internet is transforming every aspect of society,” said the Hon. George Lightbourne, Minister of Home Affairs, Transportation, and Communication of the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Within ICANN is the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).

“ICANN manages and coordinates the top level of the Internet’s unique system of identifiers. This is handled through IANA functions, where we deal with the coordination of the protocol parameters, the names, and the numbers,” said Albert Daniels, ICANN Stakeholder Engagement Sr. Manager - The Caribbean.

In 1997, ICANN reserved “.tc” as the Turks and Caicos Islands Internet top-level domain country code.

“I updated this yesterday. There are 3.4 billion users on the Internet today. That’s absolutely amazing!” said Mark Kosters, chief technical officer for the America Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN).

He also estimated there are some 19 billion devices connected to the Internet.

Kosters addressed the Internet’s IPV4 (Internet Protocol Version 4) uniform resource locator addresses (think telephone numbers). They are more or less exhausted.

The Internet cannot grow if there are no more unique addresses.

The initial Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) solution for dealing with the IPV4 number shortage was IPV5 protocols; however, this did not resolve the Internet addressing problem.

The final version they came up with was IPV6, which will resolve the issue.

We are currently using IPV4 and IPV6, in what Kosters’ called a “dual stack transition.”

Eventually, IPV4 will no longer be supported; the future is with IPV6.

As we know, IPV6 will be able to provide virtually limitless Internet addresses into the foreseeable future.

So, hurry up Internet Service Providers and get on board with IPV6.

Another presenter at the workshop was Raquel Gatto is a regional policy advisor with the Internet Society.

She is based in São Paulo, Brazil, and is a lawyer and professor, per her Twitter profile.

Gatto began her presentation addressing the military origins of the Internet, and the tremendous growth which occurred on this network once the public and business began using it.

As this growth continued, a need arose for an “Internet governance revolution,” she said.

This growing Internet brought with it some negatives, including: spam, viruses, security breaches, and hacking.

These conditions fostered the necessity for some kind of Internet standards.

A new “Internet Society” established safeguards to ensure Internet-affecting decisions were being properly made, and straightforward regulations were identified.

During the early days of the Internet, governments initially responded to Internet questions by saying they “were not familiar with this new Internet thing,” Gatto explained.

Governments brought their Internet concerns to the attention of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Internet governance covers not only the technical aspects, but includes user choices, shared principles, and norms, she said.

It also includes an international environment; bringing new people on a global scale into the decision-making processes concerning the Internet.

Gatto acknowledged all of us have a stake in governing the Internet; we have an equal voice in its deliberations, which, hopefully, lead to an agreed upon consensus.

She made clear how all of us have the freedom to create [code] our own unique software program application, put it out on the Internet, and see if people like using it.

Many schools are currently teaching computer programming (coding) to students participating in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) courses.

Gatto spoke of the Internet’s new paradigm evolution, whereby policy discussions from a national, regional, and local viewpoint need to be discussed.

When talking about public participation in social media, Gatto told the audience how Brazil loves to use Internet social media.

She smiled while saying, “We share everything!”

Brazilian Twitter users are sharing messages ranging from what they are having for breakfast, to the situation with their local traffic, Gatto jokingly said.

Follow Gatto on Twitter via her username (@RaquelGatto).

An archive of the Internet Governance Workshop’s individual speaker presentations can be seen at: http://livestream.com/internetsociety/tci-igw.

The IGW Twitter hashtag is: #IGinTCI.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Telecommunications Commission website is: http://www.telecommission.tc.

Thinking about a vacation? I learned the best time to visit the Turks and Caicos Islands is during April and May.

Follow me (@bitsandbytes) on Twitter.

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