My experience as an ICANN fellow in ICANN 61 – Sherry Shek

ICANN 61 was my first fellowship experience but my second ICANN. My first ICANN was ICANN 57, Hyderabad, where I represented NetMission (NetMission is the students’ community promoting knowledge and discussion about Internet governance) to organise the local academia outreach, with the discussion focus on Community Priority Evaluation in the New gTLDs Subsequent Procedure. I got a taste of how ICANN meeting was like and it was a good preparation for me to know how overwhelming ICANN meeting was. Being selected as a fellow granted me a chance of re-knowing ICANN community and allowed me to reflect upon my future engagement with ICANN community.

The meeting sparked my interest in studying international relations on Internet governance. The heated discussion on GDPR has drawn my attention to that an Internet, being a critical resource but carrying the feature of disperse technological administration, is changing the governance mode and challenging traditional territorial government due to the rise of global civil society. The launch of GDPR provoked international tension on the issue of sovereignty conflict on the Internet and I was very excited to witness the discussions. Different stakeholders’ strong concern on the accreditation of access to the new system reflects the alarming controversy between security and privacy. In dealing with security, the government plays a significant stakeholder role and GDPR as an EU law is escalating the tension between governments which adopt different attitudes towards how national security and privacy are balanced. ICANN, managing strategic resources that operate the Internet, has the challenging task of taking into account and balancing interests of different stakeholder groups in the difficult political environment. Being an Internet end user myself, I was very impressed by Stephanie Perrin’s view on everyone should enjoy the protection from GDPR from a human rights’ perspective. I stand in line with her concern on the importance of privacy protecting people from any potential political violence. However, I am also aware of the technical necessity of using the data to combat cybercrimes. I do not have a clear stance regarding this issue yet. Therefore, it has intrigued me into observing and following its policy development and learning the tensions between governments regarding sovereignty on Internet.

The experience with ICANN meetings has encouraged me to do a master’s study with the research interest of International relations on Internet governance from East Asia’s perspective and he preliminarily agreed to supervise me. I hope to study the political dilemma happening on Internet and how ICANN, as a global corporation managing strategic Internet resources, sets up policies in the difficult political dilemma.

By Ms. Sherry Shek,

NetMission Ambassador Class 2016-2017

Fellows of ICANN 61, Puerto Rico (10-15 Mar 2018)

Bachelor of English Language, Chinese University of Hong Kong