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ICANN hires former U.S. cybersecurity chief Rod Beckstrom

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June 29, 2009

Web policing agency ICANN confirms that it has hired former U.S. cybersecurity chief Rod Beckstrom as its next President. In March 2009, Beckstrom resigned from his job as Director of the National Cybersecurity Center at the Department of Homeland Security in a protest over increased meddling by the NSA and its severe lack of funding.

Beckstrom was voted in as the next chief exec of ICANN at a meeting in Sydney June 26. He will assume the post as a replacement for outgoing chief Paul Twomey, who will stay on as co-president until the end of 2009.

Overall, ICANN's main responsibilities include developing strict policies on the Internet's domain name system and its management.

Beckstrom's experience is rather limited in this area, but he said that shouldn't prove too much of an obstacle, given his excellent knowledge of Internet security and best practices.

He added that his experience in cybersecurity should help in his new role, even though he resigned from the Department of Homeland Security on rather unfriendly terms.

Security, in the shape of dealing with rogue registrars who facilitate cybercrime or securing the Internet's root domains, has moved higher up ICANN's agenda over recent months, so much so that Beckstrom's long-standing expertise in security should come in very handy some observers say.

"Our job at ICANN is to facilitate that dialogue and process. I don't see myself as being the leading source or the ultimate expert," said Beckstrom.

"Overall, some people respect me for speaking the truth and being willing to do what is right, even when it's not easy or popular with all parties. We will most surely face the same challenges here at ICANN as there are so many competing and conflicting demands on all domain names in the world," he said.

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Source: ICANN.

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