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ICANN appoints former cybersecurity chief as new boss

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Internet oversight agency ICANN has hired former US cybersecurity chief Rod Beckstrom as its next boss.

Beckstrom, who resigned his post as Director of the National Cybersecurity Centre at the Department of Homeland Security back in March in a protest over increased meddling by the NSA and lack of funding, was voted in as the next chief exec of ICANN at a meeting in Sydney on Friday. The 48-year-old will take over the reins as a replacement for outgoing boss Paul Twomey, who will stay on as president until the end of the year.

ICANN's core responsibilities include developing policy on the internet's domain names. Beckstrom doesn't have much experience in this area, but told AP that shouldn't prove too much of an obstacle.

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

Beckstrom added that his experience in cybersecurity should help in his new role, even though he resigned from the DHS on less than amicable 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 Beckstrom's long-standing expertise in security should come in handy.

"A lot of 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," he said. "Certainly we will face the same challenges here at ICANN as there are so many competing and conflicting demands on the domain names in the world." ®

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