Since around November 2000, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority) has been protecting and promoting the interests of Canadian individuals and businesses who hold .CA domains in the ever-evolving internet cyber-landscape.  With a mandate for overseeing the administration and regulation of Canada’s online domain (.CA), CIRA has been instrumental in facilitating the growth of the .CA domain from roughly 60,000 domains in 2000, to approximately 2.5 million domains today.

Prior to 2000, Canadian (.CA) domain registrations were looked after by a group of forward thinking volunteers under the guidance of John Demco, operating from UBC’s Department of Computer Science.

In a weblog post CIRA CEO Byron Hall, responding to calls for the Internet registry authority to censor website content, made the following remarks.

“First, and perhaps most importantly, CIRA has no involvement on the content of .CA websites. Our role is to manage the registration of the domain name and to ensure that Registrants (those that register .CA domain names) and Registrars (the organizations that sell the .CA domain to Canadians) meet CIRA’s legal and policy requirements , such as Canadian Presence Requirements. We are also responsible for the safe, secure and stable operation of the underlying domain name system (DNS). We are one part of Canada’s Internet ecosystem, working with registrars and web hosting companies who interact directly with Canadian organizations and individuals who purchase a .CA domain and host relevant content. Policing content is not what we do.

I’ve written before about an open and free Internet and I stand firm in this belief. I must take this stance even when it supports content that differs from my personal beliefs. Open means open for all.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with it. I find many of the websites in question repugnant — websites that express derogatory views of people based on their religious beliefs, race, gender or sexual orientation. They go against everything I believe in and the values I teach my children.

But I stand firm that the Internet must remain free and open, and taking actions to remove websites, regardless of how repellent the content, would go directly against this approach. A free and open Internet precludes my personal beliefs related to its content and I couldn’t continue to lead CIRA, an organization committed to managing Canada’s domain, if I didn’t support this viewpoint for all Canadians, even those I disagree with. One individual should not have the power to make these decisions based on personal beliefs or as an emotional reaction. CIRA has policies in place to ensure this can’t happen.” – Byron Hall – via CIRA

Hall goes on to explain that CIRA will work together with proper judicial and law enforcement processes in place to mitigate Internet content when laws are being broken, as determined by appropriate authorities such as Canadian courts.

Thanks for all your hard work and wisdom CIRA.

 

“The Internet is the place where you can freely exchange information back and forth. This idea can’t be crushed” – Aaron Swartz

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.” – Voltaire

“If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like.” – Noam Chomsky