I am a “member nominee” in this year’s CIRA board of directors election. Together, we will make the Internet in Canada — and the world — awesome.
I need your support. You can help by expressing a show of support on the CIRA web site: https://elections.cira.ca/2012/support/login/en
Below are the contents of my CIRA board of directors nominee application form, pasted verbatim. More information on the election is at http://www.ciraelections.ca. A copy of my application can also be found on the CIRA elections site.
My name is Mike Toscano. I believe in a free and open Internet for all Canadians.
With your support, we will proudly continue Canada’s journey to bring the Internet to new heights as an incredible vehicle for business, connectivity, information, and expression for everyone.
There is a lot of information about me, my qualifications, and my views in the responses below but here is a bit to get you started:
* I have a strident belief in a free and open Internet with equal access for all. My firm support of positions expressed by CIRA CEO, Byron Holland on infrastructure, privacy, performance (http://blog.cira.ca/2012/06/it%E2%80%99s-time-for-canada-to-bring-its-internet-traffic-home/), and access (http://blog.cira.ca/2012/08/broadband-speed-and-price-where-does-canada-rank/) serve as examples of such.
* My technical knowledge with regard to Internet technology is expansive and comprehensive. I’m a geek, through and through. I’ll contribute to the strong, up-to-date understanding of the technical issues on the Board, and ensure initiatives are relevant and have technical merit.
* I know how organizations like CIRA work. I also know a lot about business. My knowledge and skills in these areas would help make CIRA exceptionally efficient and well managed, with a laser focus on the needs of its constituents — you! As well, I would help CIRA stay on top of issues that matter most to Canadian businesses and people across the country. In cases where there is tension between the needs of business and people, you can bet on me favouring people every time.
After reading my responses to the questions below, please feel free to read more on my blog at http://blog.miketoscano.ca, or my LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/miketoscano. I’d love to hear from you via e-mail, Twitter, or the CIRA elections message board on what you’d like to see in your CIRA board members, your thoughts on the issues, and of course, any questions you might have.
Thanks for your consideration,
Twitter ID: @mike_toscano
E-mail: mike4cira [at] miketoscano [dot] ca
CIRA Board of Directors nominee application questions:
1. Why do you want to be on CIRA’s Board of Directors?
It is my aim to do everything I can to have the greatest possible positive impact on the world. I can be most effective in this pursuit by leveraging my skills and experience, which are in the realms of technology, business, and public policy.
CIRA plays an important role in the development of the Internet, and by extension, in the development of Canadian business and society. I want to do my part to help CIRA be its very best, as well as to ensure it operates firmly in the public interest.
My simple, yet admittedly ambitious goals to make people’s lives better and the world a more just, intelligent place are why I have pursued my degrees, launched my technology business, and why I have decided to run for the CIRA board of directors.
2. What specific skills or experiences do you have that make you the best candidate for the CIRA Board?
* Over 13 years experience in information technology, the last five of which have been completely focused on Internet services (such as HTTP, databases, load balancing, and firewalls for web sites) for high traffic sites of some of the best known brands. I have incredibly comprehensive knowledge in technology relevant to CIRA. What’s more, I truly love technology and see it as an enabler — empowering people to communicate, learn, and organize to make their lives and the world better.
* As an Internet and technology professional, I have worked with many companies, large and small. With this experience and my business education, I understand well, how business works and the needs of new, small, and growing firms as well as large, established ones. This understanding helps me promote business and provide an environment for them to thrive without encroaching upon the needs and rights of individuals, which are paramount.
* I have outstanding communication and people skills. I like people and work well with others. If elected, I will foster positive change and innovation through healthy discussion, debate, and cooperation without “shaking things up” or driving other board members and staff nuts.
* I am a divergent, strategic thinker. I cultivate environments where ideas flourish and I’m pretty good at coming up with fresh, creative ideas, myself. One of the most exciting products of the Internet is the generation and proliferation of thought and ideas. A great example of this is the open source movement. It is through cooperation, collaboration, and unfettered exchange of ideas (and constructive criticisms) among smart people all over the world that powerful, disruptive projects like Linux, OpenStack, and Hadoop have been developed, improved, and distributed. Together with the Canadian Internet community, CIRA can build a vibrant ecosystem of creativity for tackling Internet issues. I would love to utilize my skills to help make that happen.
* I have a Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree from University of British Columbia — one of the world’s top universities — with a specialization in information technology and sub-specialization in marketing. In the process of earning this degree, I have learned a great deal in all areas of business – accounting, finance, economics, entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, and much more. As a board member, this knowledge would help provide context behind our initiatives, as well as enable me to better communicate and understand the perspectives of other .CA members, CIRA board members and management and other stakeholders – inside and outside of CIRA — who come from varied backgrounds in government, business, and non-profit sectors.
3. What do you feel are the top three challenges and opportunities facing the .CA domain name space during the next three to five years?
First, we must ensure the Internet remains open, accessible, and free (as in freedom) for all Canadians. We, in Canada, have a significant role to play in shaping the Internet at large as well and our .CA name space is an important part of that. Unfortunately, attaining and keeping an open, accessible, and free Internet will always be a major challenge because more than a few powerful groups in the world have too much to gain by locking up and stifling it.
We can achieve this fundamental goal by maintaining CIRA as a strong, democratic, independent, and credible institution that operates squarely in the public interest. Electing responsible board members with solid knowledge on how the Internet and registries work, CIRA’s role in shaping the Internet coupled with equally solid commitment to Canadian principles and values of freedom and justice is essential. There is, perhaps, nothing more important to me than human rights. I would stand firmly in the way of those who would attempt to use the name system to silence or censor expression on the Internet. Moreover, I would work to maintain CIRA’s solid corporate governance structure and ensure all activities and elections continue to be conducted with complete transparency and integrity in the interest of all Canadians.
A second major challenge for CIRA and all Internet organizations is security. As we enter a new data-driven age powered by computers and the Internet, more and more information is stored and activities take place digitally by people, businesses, and governments than ever. This phenomenon will continue at an incredible rate. While these advances in technology great enablers in Canadian society, their vulnerabilities pose great risks and threats. We have seen several examples of such with security issues identified in DNS in recent years as well as a new breed of incredibly sophisticated powerful viruses, trojans, and worms – some even likely sponsored by nation-states (Stuxnet, Flame). Herein lies an opportunity to leverage innovation and excellence — such risks can be controlled through proper process, public policy, defensive technologies (like DNSSEC), and rapid, nimble response. Public organizations often perform reasonably well at the first two items mentioned but the pace of the Internet today requires a nimble, well informed group able to quickly react, anticipate, and take advantage of changes in technology, risks, and disruptive change. A sharp, technologically astute board will be able to foster innovation to address these issues.
Finally, CIRA’s aim to sustain and increase the .CA domain’s prominence and relevance as the Internet continues to grow at break-neck speed and with the introduction of many more TLDs (top-level domains) will become more challenging to achieve. As your CIRA board member, I would bring my skills in marketing, public speaking, and writing to help raise the profile of the organization, and the .ca TLD. As well, I would do more to foster engagement in the Internet and business communities as I see such engagement as vital to raising awareness and in running any entity in the public interest.
CIRA has already done a fantastic job in all three of the aforementioned areas but the challenges presented will become even more substantial as time passes, requiring renewed commitment and resolve. I am eager to tackle these and all of the challenges we can look forward to facing in the future.
4. What specific actions do you propose to overcome one or more of these challenges and opportunities?
I have woven actions, general an specific, into my responses on each of the challenges and opportunities mentioned. If you would like me to expand on or provide more detail, please feel free to contact me.
5. Please describe your understanding of the role of a Director on CIRA’s Board.
Like any board of directors, CIRA’s board serves as a primary form of governance of the organization. This means ensuring CIRA is accountable to its stakeholders and operates according to its bylaws and other applicable regulations.
The board provides general direction to CIRA and most of all, supports and provides guidance to achieve the corporation’s vision of being a world leader among country code top-level domain registries and to make .CA the TLD of choice for Canadians.
As an individual, I would consider my place on the board one not only of fulfilling these fiduciary duties outlined above but also in doing the best I can to help the board be efficient, effective, and a valued resource for information and guidance to CIRA management and the Internet community at large.