Byron Holland

Byron Holland

President and CEO of CIRA
Joined on March 25, 2009 – Canada
Total Post Views: 123,020

About

Byron G. Holland is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA).

Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for Internet governance, Byron's leadership has brought CIRA to the forefront of innovation. At CIRA, Byron has led a wholesale rewrite of the .CA registry and related policies and business rules. Since the registry rewrite, .CA has become the fastest growing country code top-level domain (TLD) in the world, and the second fastest growing TLD overall.

Byron has developed a strong international profile for CIRA and the .CA top-level domain. He is vice-chairperson of the Country Codes Name Supporting Organization (ccNSO), the body that represents the interests of all country code top-level domains and leads policy development initiatives at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Byron is also an active participant in the United Nations co-ordinated Internet Governance Forum, and other Internet governance fora.

Prior to joining CIRA, Byron helped found the third largest coalition loyalty program in Canada, Futura Rewards. As the Chief Operating Officer at Futura, he oversaw the development and growth of the company from a small upstart to a publicly traded company with more than 100 brand partners and 400,000 members.

Byron maintains a world recognized blog, Public Domain (www.cirablog.ca). On his blog, he provides leading insight into issues of importance to Canadians on Internet-related matters. Byron can also be found on Twitter at @CIRA001.

Byron received a Bachelor of Arts with Honours from the University of Western Ontario and a Master of Business Administration from Queen's University. He also holds his ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Featured Blogs

The Internet Must Remain Open - Even for Those We Disagree With

Over the past couple of weeks, following the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, there has been significant discussion in social and traditional media about various technology companies removing websites from their servers, or otherwise making them unavailable. As the operators of Canada's Internet domain, we at CIRA are getting numerous inquiries about our stance and policies on this issue. I'd like to use this opportunity to make a couple of clarifications about how CIRA works and what CIRA actually does. more»

We Are Protecting the Internet, Not Giving It to the United Nations

Like many foreigners, I follow U.S. politics closely. What happens in Washington, D.C. on trade, economics, foreign policy, and security matters can often have ripple effects across the world. This is also true with respect to internet policy, and like many who work in the internet industry, I am getting increasingly concerned by some of the news coming out of Washington. more»

ICANN Accountability: Beware the Bridge Too Far

Yesterday I had the privilege of delivering the keynote address at the inaugural Internet Society (Canada) Symposium. In my remarks, I took the opportunity to talk about my thoughts on the current status of the IANA stewardship transition and enhancing ICANN accountability processes. Fact is I'm getting increasingly concerned. As we head into what will be a critical meeting of the CCWG-Accountability in Los Angeles today, I fear that the Internet governance community is headed for a showdown, the consequences of which could prove detrimental. more»

Measuring Canada's Internet Performance One Test at a Time

As the head of the registry for the .CA top-level domain, I can tell you that few things get Canadians riled up as much as the performance of their Internet service. Their concerns aren't entirely unfounded -- according to OECD data, Canada's ranking for broadband speed and price relative to its OECD counterparts has been on a downward trend over the past dozen years. And for those of us who travel overseas, especially to countries with advanced Internet infrastructure like South Korea and Sweden, we've experienced firsthand just how green the grass is on the other side of the fence. more»

A Case for Looking Before Leaping: The IANA Stewardship Proposal

In my comments on the draft Cross-Community Working Group (CWG) on Naming Related Functions proposal for the IANA transition, I expressed my overall support, albeit somewhat reserved, for the proposal... but with the ICG's deadline of January 15 having come and gone, and the informal deadline of January 31 looming for the revised proposal from the Names community to be submitted, I'd like to shed some light on what I believe the role and reasoning for some of the mechanisms identified by the CWG, specifically the Contract Co., to be. more»

Internet Governance After Busan: Playing the Long Game

As you might imagine, I've been following the ITU's Plenipotentiary Conference very closely. It was built up to be the great showdown of our time -- the pro-'free and open' Internet in one corner (comprised for the most part of developed and democratic nations), in the other corner a contingent of totalitarian regimes bent on a fractured, censored Internet -- a near battle royale for control of one of the greatest communications tool the world has ever seen. more»

Stopping Illegal Activity Online - It's More Complicated Than It Seems

There was a compelling article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) the other day about ICANN and illegal online pharmacies. The result of a six-month investigation, the reporter, Jeff Elder, calls into question ICANN's effectiveness in investigating complaints of suspected illegal activity on domain names it has a contractual relationship with. Elder cites a recent incident where Interpol and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration tried to have 1,300 websites shut down because they were suspected of selling drugs without a prescription. more»

Bringing Order to Chaos

If we were to apply themes to Internet governance world, the narrative for 2014-15 is definitely 'change'. The governance ecosystem is knee deep in the IANA transition, with a few meetings and teleconferences of the IANA Transition Coordinating Group behind us, and a ramping up of activity around ICANN accountability and governance. While the IANA transition and ICANN accountability processes are being conducted in parallel and independently, it's important to note that not only are they related, they are dependent on one another. more»

Prepare for the Worst, But Hope for the Best

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the importance of the timeline leading up to the September 2015 deadline for the IANA oversight transition proposal. In that post, I explored the nature of U.S. politics and how it can affect the transition if we, as a community, are not diligent in our efforts to meet that deadline. Since then, the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) has held its first meeting and a conference call, resulting in some new information that necessitates an update to that post. more»

The Essential Ingredient of Politics Is Timing

The transition of the IANA contract oversight is, of course, the topic du jour at ICANN 50 in London. From the sessions to the hallway banter, it's the hottest topic I can recall in ICANN's history. It's an inherently over-the-top political topic, merging partisan politics in Washington with Internet governance. On numerous occasions in Singapore, Larry Strickling raised the domestic politicking on the part of the Republican Party regarding the IANA oversight transition, cautioning us of the discourse fuelled by opportunism. more»

NETmundial and the IGF: Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

The Internet is not new. It has existed, in one form or another, since the 1960s. Since that time, it has been primarily the domain of the engineers and the other technology-minded individuals that built it. The organizations that were put in place to govern it predate the huge growth in end users the Internet experienced in the 2000s... They are able, in structure and capacity, to deal with technological issues. The issues facing the Internet in 2014, however, are very different from those in 1998. more»

Thoughts About U.S. Government's Decision on IANA Transition

Last week the government of the United States made an announcement that sent shockwaves through the Internet governance world. The National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), a division of the Department of Commerce, publicly stated that it will not be renewing its contract with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) past its September 2015 expiry date. The importance of this announcement cannot be underestimated. more»

Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms

The Internet is at a crossroads. And while high-profile events like the introduction of new gTLDs and revelations about governments and online surveillance may be a catalyst for recent Internet governance reform initiatives, their necessity isn't exactly new. After all, the current structures and processes in place were set up a decade and a half ago, an eternity in Internet years. A key step in reviewing and renewing these structures is the Panel on the Future of Global Internet Cooperation, announced at the recent ICANN meeting in Buenos Aires. more»

Multi-Stakeholderism and the 'Coalition of the Willing'

I was part of a group of about 200 people who attended and update at the Internet Governance Forum in Bali on the Montevideo statement. I'd like to share a few of my observations, and offer some unsolicited advice. First, the de facto leader of the and champion of the multi-stakeholder model, the United States, has been sent to the penalty box in light of the NSA surveillance revelations. more»

ICANN 47: Policy Debates and Cautious Optimism

A strange feeling came over me after I got home from ICANN 47 in Durban, something I haven't felt after an ICANN meeting before. The feeling? Optimism. I'm optimistic, albeit cautiously so, about the future of ICANN and by extension, hopefully that of Internet governance in general. If the meeting in Durban is any indication, we've come a long way in the past year. There were no indicted war criminals invited to dinner. And though it may be too soon to say for sure, I don't think a letter will be sent to the government of South Africa about the quality of the hotel. more»

NSA, Prism and Internet Exchange Points in Canada

As the operator of the registry for the .CA top-level domain and the domain name system (DNS) infrastructure that supports it, I am uncomfortable, though not surprised, with the knowledge that a government is monitoring the activities of Internet users. And while recent reports about the National Security Agency's top-secret PRISM program actively monitoring Internet users in the United States and (by default) citizens of other countries - Canada included - are on the front page of newspapers around the world, Internet surveillance is not exactly new. more»

Beyond Words: Diverse Voices at ICANN and Miscommunications

A few days ago, I sat in a meeting here in Ottawa with our IT Director and Director of Marketing and Communications. These are two highly intelligent people working on the same team, for the same company, talking about a common subject. And yet, something was amiss in achieving mutual understanding. Each was seeing things from his own distinct perspective and as such, speaking his own language. As I reflected on my team's internal dynamic, I began to see parallels in areas that have an even more direct impact on the Internet ecosystem. more»

Governing the Internet: The Model is the Message

In 1964, Canadian scholar Marshall McLuhan famously wrote, "The medium is the message." This phrase popped into my head last week as I listened to the opening speakers at the Internet Governance Forum in Nairobi. McLuhan meant that the form in which a message is delivered - the medium - embeds itself in the meaning of the message. The medium influences how the message is perceived and understood and is therefore inseparable from the message itself. What does this have to do with the Internet? more»

Does ICANN Need to Evolve Its Code of Conduct?

If you follow the Internet governance world like I do, you've no doubt had time to ponder the news of former ICANN Board Chair Peter Dengate Thrush's appointment as Executive Chairman of Top Level Domain Holdings Limited (TLDH). This was a seemingly fast jump from the body that coordinates the Internet (whose most recent milestone was to approve the creation of new gTLDs) to one of the key companies that stands to actively benefit from this burgeoning part of the domain name industry. Further, he's taken up a position that, according to reports, will allow him to benefit substantially as well. more»