Network Security

Former U.S. cybersecurity chief appointed CEO of ICANN

The former cybersecurity chief at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now the head of ICANN, a primary internet governance organization.
The CEO appointment of Rod Beckstrom, 48, was announced at ICANN's international meeting in Sydney, Australia. He was the former director of the DHS National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC), and had quit March 13 in a dispute over the direction the agency was taking, claiming the National Security Agency was overly influential, and that his agency lacked authority and funding.

ICANN, which stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, oversees the internet's address system, in particular, developing policy on domain names.

ICANN said in a statement that Beckstrom's appointment won plaudits from a wide range of industry luminaries, including Eric Schmidt, Google chairman and CEO, and Vint Cerf, widely viewed as “father” of the internet.

"Rod's extensive technical and commercial expertise is world class, and I can think of no one better positioned to lead ICANN's critical mission as the internet's role in society continues to increase in scope and importance," said Schmidt, in the statement from ICANN.

"Rod Beckstrom is strikingly well-prepared to undertake a new role as CEO of ICANN. His experience in industry and government equip him for this global and very challenging job," said Vint Cerf, according to the statement.

“The internet has changed the way the world communicates and conducts commerce,” said Beckstrom, according to the statement. “And in no small way, this multi-stakeholder, bottom-up organization has been and will continue to be at the core of the internet's on-going evolution. Quite simply, the proof that ICANN works is that the internet works.”

Beckstrom also commented on the role of the internet in international affairs.

“The importance of the internet as a free-flowing source of information is being underscored right now by the events in Iran,” he said. “It shows the power of human expression through a free and open internet.”

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