Ricardo Patara “The community has become a leading actor”
Involved in LACNIC since before its creation, Ricardo Patara is one of the most fervent promoters of the collaborative Internet model developed by the regional community throughout the years.
He worked as LACNIC CTO for eight years until 2010, when he decided to return to his native Brazil to lead the country’s National Internet Registry (NIC.br).
In reviewing the first 15 years of LACNIC, Patara highlights the achievements of an organization which, in his opinion, has driven the Latin American and Caribbean Internet community to become a leading actor.
What was your relationship with the world of ICTs 15 years ago?
At that time my relationship with information and communication technologies focused on the operation of network equipment and Internet routing systems. I also developed some small systems for internal use within the organization.
When did your relationship with LACNIC begin?
In 2001, prior to the creation of LACNIC, I was already working on what would formally be recognized in 2002. My first task was a training activity at ARIN, the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) which was serving the LAC region at the time. I then began analyzing Internet resource requests submitted to ARIN by companies operating in the LAC region. We were in charge of the analysis, but ARIN was responsible for the final approval and for granting the resources. That was until 2002, when LACNIC became the fourth RIR and we began dealing with the application process from start to finish.
Once LACNIC was approved as an RIR, I had to organize what would become the Registration Service department, define the necessary processes, help the team in charge of developing the systems in use, and train the technical staff for the Registration Service and web tasks.
What roles have you played within the LACNIC community? Did they meet your expectations? What aspects would you highlight?
I have been participating in the Public Policy Forum since the early LACNIC meetings. I also contributed to the creation of LACNOG, the regional network operators group, which I chaired until 2015.
The results were always very satisfactory, as shown by the increasing number of policy proposals submitted each year, and especially by the growing number of people involved in this important process.
Likewise, LACNOG —which began as a small discussion list— has become a fairly organized group of network operators and already holds its own annual meetings with more and more participants and speakers each year.
What role do you think the LACNIC community has played in the management of number resources over the past 15 years?
The community abandoned its role as a mere “spectator” and has become a leading actor. Before LACNIC, there was practically no participation in terms of policy development. Today we have a very active community and even participate in global policy initiatives to determine how Internet resources are managed globally.
For example, with policies more suited to the needs of our region, it’s easy to see the benefits of having a larger number of ISPs in the region with assigned Internet resources.
What are the LACNIC community’s identifying features?
In my opinion, one of its identifying features is that discussions are heated yet respectful and friendly. We are also very open and receptive, so much so that participation is not limited only to people from the LAC region but from other regions as well.
How do you envision Internet governance 15 years from now?
Until very recently, the topic of Internet governance was restricted to certain specific groups that already had some degree of participation in the technical community. That has now changed, but there is still much work to be done until other sectors of society can be involved. For many people without any technical background, the Internet is like electricity: just connect your device and you’re ready to go. While partly true, there are important aspects in which we can involve a larger number of people so that the Internet can in fact be increasingly simple and “omnipresent.” But also more universal, secure, stable, free, and —above all— a right for everyone.