Monday, June 26, 2006

ICANN IN MARAKESH

At the tourist city of Marrakech, Internet stakeholders are gathered for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ICANN meeting.

Moroccan Prime Minister Driss Jettou graced the ceremony and gave his government’s testimony of how Information Communication Technology ICT can leverage modernization and territorial administration.

“Through internet development, Morocco is well anchored to provide essential services locally and abroad,” Jettou said.

To demonstrate the development, Jettou noted that the country has provided four million employment opportunities compared to a million jobs created online in 2004.

This, he added, has been through concerted efforts between the government and other players of improving access, content and training.

In access and training, the prime minister says the government put aside USD 100 million to equip secondary school students with necessary skills. The project is expected to be rolled out fully by 2008.

“The government is using internet to provide essential services such as information on revenue collection, justice department and overall administration,” added Jettou.

ICANN board chairman Vint Cerf lauded the Moroccan government’s effort saying that the country was at a vantage point to provide services in French and Arabic.

“This meeting is going to discuss how non English languages can be effectively used in the internet. How morocco can effectively provide services beyond its borders using French, Arabic or other languages,” said Cerf

The use of non English language and not Latin alphabets is commonly known as Internationalized Domain Names IDN. The meeting is expected to report on progress in rolling out the project.

The project has been well embraced and championed by the Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, French, and Arabs. The rest of indigenous African languages are still in conception stage and there is no clear way forward over financing or the term of the conception.

According to Paul Twomey, ICANN president, the meeting is geared towards open discussions on various issues affecting the industry.

“There will be discussions relating to the ICANN memorandum of understanding with the American department of commerce, which expires in September,” said Twomey.

The meeting is expected to be the theatre of protracted debate between governments and industry specialists on what amount of user information should be available for scrutiny and whether the disclosure may amount to violation of individual rights.

ICANN will hold discussions between government representatives and stakeholders and establish the way forward. Governments argue that the information would help in cases of fraud and other illegal activities while the industry wants freedom for users.

“There will be representatives from Holland, Japan and USA to add flavor to the discussion on the debate,” Cerf concluded.

Ends