Faculty of Law

Institution extends global reach through key international appointments

Two leading Law academics are helping drive internet regulation and government transparency across the globe.

Associate Professors Dr Heather Forrest and Rick Snell have been appointed to two influential roles, putting the institution at the forefront of crucial international initiatives.

Earlier this month, Dr Forrest was unanimously elected as Chair of the Generic Names Supporting Organisation (GNSO) Council, a body directly responsible for the operation of the internet “domain name” system, which includes .com and other generic domains.

GNSO forms part of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a private, non-profit corporation that regulates the World Wide Web.  

“Without domain names, it would be very difficult for humans to use the internet. Computers talk to each other in long sequences of numbers; the Domain Name System thus makes it possible for humans to communicate with the computers that run it,” Dr Forrest said.

“The GNSO Council’s job is to ensure, first and foremost, that domain names are unique, and it also develops policies and rules that govern the system’s operation.

“As Chair, it is my responsibility to ensure the council acts within this mandate, and I have been fortunate to integrate my experience into my teaching, with two of my students recently attending the ICANN Annual General Meeting in Abu Dhabi.

“Without the Council, the Domain Name System would very quickly disintegrate into chaos and the web would immediately lose functionality.”

Following a rigorous selection process that spanned more than three weeks, Associate Professor Rick Snell was recently appointed to a 10-member International Expert Panel which oversees the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) of the Open Government Partnership (OGP).

OGP is a collaboration of more than 70 countries that have pledged to increase the transparency of governments, fight corruption and ensure ongoing accountability.

Associate Professor Snell said his appointment to the panel would help shape the program.

“In my first 12 months I will be one of five quality control advisors guiding the development and implementation of research, and ensuring the highest quality of reports,” Associate Professor Snell said.

“For 27 years as an academic, researcher, postgraduate supervisor, commentator, consultant, citizen and advisor I have been engaged with various aspects of open government, access to information, accountability and good governance.

“This two-year appointment provides a direct and authoritative influence into these processes at a global level and across a significant number of countries.

“For the Law School and the University, this means that my research, scholarship and expertise is being presented and used at the heart of one of the key international initiatives in public information in the 21st century.”

Published on: 29 Nov 2017 3:12pm