We need to keep the web open and free, says Internet Association CEO (video)

21 Oct 2015

Michael Beckerman, CEO of the Internet Association

In summing up the impact the internet has had in its over 30-year history, the CEO of the Internet Association, Michael Beckerman, said that there has been no greater driver of human and economic freedom than the internet.

Speaking with Siliconrepublic.com during the 54th ICANN meeting, held for the first time in Dublin, and at an event honouring Irishman and internet pioneer Dennis Jennings, Beckerman said that following the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision on Safe Harbour, it is vital that the internet remains open and free.

The Internet Association represents the 36 biggest internet companies in the world, many of whom have their international headquarters in Dublin.

Choice and privacy paramount following ECJ ruling

Following the ECJ decision, Beckerman said the US internet industry has a lot of questions.

“Everybody is still trying to sort things out and figure out what the new rules of the road will be.

“The important thing is that we are still able to serve customers here in Europe and provide great value to the European economy. And choice is very important and protecting privacy is of paramount importance to all of the internet companies.”

The decision to honour Dennis Jennings made sense while ICANN and the Internet Association were in Dublin. “Some of the decisions he made some 30 years ago really crafted the way the internet is today, which has become this incredible platform for commerce, expression and freedom around the world,” said Beckerman.

He said that he believes we are still only at the dawn of the internet age. “There will be countless new innovations and developments that are going to change the way we live our lives for the better and create jobs and help grow the economy and connect people around the world. And that’s really exciting, we are just scratching the surface.”

Beckerman said that the impact of the internet on humanity has yet to be fully understood.

“From a freedom standpoint of human rights, there has been no better driver of human rights and freedom around the world than the internet.

“This is a global platform and the governance structure is global and allows for the next iteration of the internet to exist and not be stifled.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years