It is YOUNG PEOPLE of today who will live with the decisions of ICANN tomorrow. They
need to have a say in the decision making.
In 1998, I had the pleasure to attend
the Junior Summit 1998, hosted by the MIT Media Lab as a young representative of
Australia. 100 under 16s came together with adults like Nicholas Negroponte, Alan
Kay, and John Perry Barlow to discuss the key questions of the age: the growing gap
between the digital haves and have nots, online copyright, domain names, and how
we could make technology our tool in combatting some of the world's great humanitarian,
conflict and environmental problems (most of them the result of decisions that young
people had no say in!). What was most compelling for me about this event was that
for this group (which came from diverse backgrounds and 54 different countries) technologies
like domain names were simply *tools* to get someplace else. Sure, the technology
- eg. what the domain name was - was important, but it was important for a reason
that was not just ONLY because it was technically sound or commercially viable. Technologies,
including Domain names and their allocation have a social impact.
Not only did
the Junior Summit recommend the introduction of a domain name for young people, but
it proved that young people have something to offer a forum and a decison making
body like ICANN. If only that is some reality.
As a 17 year old, and a member of
ICANN, I fully endorse the notion that a technically skilled and socially responsible
person representing young people should be a member of the Board of ICANN. To that
end, I support the need for membership to be opened to those under 16 (or alternatively,
considering the legal issues involved with doing that, the measure of MANDATING that
one of the non-elected members be under 16).
"Cyberscene" (Penguin, 1999)
Member, National Advisory Council, Australian Broadcasting
Founder, the Teenage Computer Network