Ministry of Economic Development IT and telecommunications policy specialist advisor Frank March has been seconded to a United Nations working group on internet governance.
March will be based in Geneva for the next six months as the only full-time person on the secretariat.
March is also the New Zealand representative to the government advisory committee of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). ICANN is a non-profit, international organisation created to oversee the technical functions of the internet, most of which were formerly carried out by the US government.
March says ICANN faces a number of issues. “There is government concern that the digital divide is putting third-world countries even further behind, and concern around issues of content," he says.
“But there is a lot of misunderstanding about ICANN’s role with regard to these.
“The United Nations has set up a working group on internet governance to identify the issues and report. The group is directly under the auspices of the secretary-general.”
March says the aim is to clarify exactly what governance is. The key issues, he says, are policy and accountability. The group is scheduled to report by June.
March is on leave of absence from MED while he is in Geneva.