Ilves to Head International Committee of Internet Experts ({{commentsTotal}})

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has been appointed to lead a committee of IT experts drawing from government, business and civil society, whose task is to address global challenges facing the future of the Internet.

The organization, called together by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an organization that manages IP addresses and domain names, will hold its first meeting in London in December.

Ilves said the group aims to develop principles for maintaining a free and secure Internet.

Ilves has been an outspoken advocate of Internet freedom and a critic of authoritarian governments that restrict such freedoms.

"They claim restrictions in cyber space are necessary for fighting cyber crime and cyber terrorism, but in reality they are restricting their citizens' freedom," Ilves was quoted as saying in a press release.

The Estonian president, who also chairs a European Union cloud computing committee, said it is important to find a balance between the free movement of information, and privacy and security. Achieving this will require new technical solutions as well as updated legal frameworks on both national and international levels, he said.

"The system established with the Estonian national ID card and the X-Road, which is a secure solution and at the same time does not restrict freedoms, has proved to be a global guidepost, due to which there is a great deal of international interest toward Estonia's solution," Ilves said.

The group of 19 members includes ICANN President Fadi Chehade, Google Vice President Vint Cerf, Mozilla Foundation Chair Mitchell Baker, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales and others.

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