• COMMENT 2019-09-18 BY OHI team

    OHI interview with Becky Burr: The mother of ICANN

    OHI project interviewed Becky Burr on 18th September 2019 in Washington, DC.
    OHI interview with Becky Burr: The mother of ICANN

    Becky Burr has obtained JD in Law at Georgetown University Law Center (1982-1986) and BA in American Studies at Yale University. From 1997 to 2000, she served as Director of International Affairs in NTIA at the US Department of Commerce where she took charge of Internet Governance as well as Privacy and consumer protection. She is one of the first experts who have been working on Internet privacy for almost 30 years.


    If we regard Ira Magaziner, the senior advisor for policy development for President Clinton, as “the father of ICANN”, then Becky Burr should be “the mother of ICANN”. Burr has been involved in the planning and establishment of ICANN on behalf of the US government from the very beginning. At that time, Magaziner was the policy planner and architect for ICANN, and Burr was the one who made all those plans happen . They paved the way for the success of ICANN, which gave the United States who led the establishment of the ICANN-a brand new multi-stakeholders organization power to communicate and negotiate with the technical community represented by Jon Postel, the ITU and other international organizations represented by the United Nations, the European Union, and commercial enterprises. In our interview with Magaziner two days later, he also highly praised Burr’s work for ICANN and he thought they cooperated very well just like a mixed double.

    After leaving the US government, Becky Burr started her career as a lawyer and was named as one of the most influential lawyers in the United States for several years. Meanwhile, she has also been concerned about the growth and evolutions of ICANN.


    During our interview, we saw a card with her Chinese name 薄百惠 (bó bǎi huì) on, a really beautiful name as herself.


    At the end of the interview, she showed us a mounted cartoon picture, painting the Internet pioneer Jon Postel. This cartoon was published in the Financial Times in 1998, the long-haired Jon was named after the “Internet landlord” and a group of people, represented by Magaziner, were pulling Jon's beard and challenging his authority. What a vivid picture!

    Our interview began at 11 am we were looking forward to digging more stories from her. But the interview has to end at 1:30 pm as we were supposed to meet Bob Kahn, the father of the Internet, at 1:30 pm.


    Hope we have a chance to talk with Becky Burr in the near future.


    Please follow us for more stories about Becky Burr.

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