Greetings everyone, and Happy New Year!
The Canadian Chapter of the Internet Society has experienced a year of solid accomplishment.
We have intervened in several issues of public interest, and these interventions will be available on our website soon.
Our policy continues to be one which seeks an open Internet, which I describe as being cheap as in salt and free as in speech.
The Internet in Canada and around the world is a complex system with many parts that cooperate to transmit information. We cannot take the attitude that freedom of communication is threatened from one direction alone. Governments, carriers, content providers, each and all have interests, some commercial, some political, to squeeze profit, to supress information flow, and to make this marvelous device less useful than it could be.
Nor can we take for granted that any arrangement once made in the public interest will continue. Witness the elimination of net neutrality regulation in the United States, which, depending on your point of view, will accelerate investment in facilities or squeeze smaller players and consolidate power in the hands of carriers. By the same token we cannot ignore the outsourcing of speech controls from states to the Googles and other content delivery networks, such as has recently occurred in Germany.
Our task in Canada is to become the premier voice for sane Internet policy. Our belief is that by uniting some of the most experienced legal, technical and business voices, together with a strong consumer presence, we can shape policy to maintain the Internet as cheap and as free as it can be made.
In this regard I owe a great debt of thanks to the volunteers who give their time and talent to the work of the Chapter, on its committees and on its Board. We have a sterling bunch of content creators in our ranks, and we would be nowhere without them.
As of the time of writing, it appears that Canarie and CIRA have agreed jointly to fund the organization for a two-year term. This will enable us to hire a professional executive director who will fundraise and help us organize better. If this money comes through – and we are in the very final stages of agreement – the Canada Chapter will be the richest Chapter in the entire ISOC constellation of Chapters.
There are things we are doing well and things we could improve. One of the things we could be doing better is communicating with Chapter members and with the press. I expect that this new money will allow for improvements in both directions.
In conclusion friends, we shall not lack for tasks to accomplish in the coming year. Nor will we lack for the zeal, the commitment, and the talent with which to approach them.
My thanks to you all.
Internet Society, Canada Chapter