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Dr. Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond (B.Eng (Hons), M.S, Ph.D, DIC, MIET, SMIEEE) received a Bachelor of Engineering with honours in Computer Systems & Electronics from King's College London in 1990 and a Ph.D in Telecommunications from Imperial College London in 1997. On the business side, he received a Specialised Masters in Competitive Intelligence & Knowledge Management at the SKEMA Business School (ESC Lille & CERAM) in Sophia Antipolis, in 2007.
He has been actively present on the Internet since 1987. His earliest contributions to the Internet community can be found in the well-known RISKS-L Digest / comp.risks, the Forum on Risks to the Public in the Use of Computers and Related Systems. He is known to be still reading that ACM forum on a regular basis.
In November 1988, the Internet was hit by a "worm", and although OCL played no part in the operations taking place to counter the threat, he watched closely from the sideline, as the UK was saved from infection due to another set of protocols being used for E-mail on his local network, JANET. (Joint Academic Network). A link through SATNET (from UCL to NASA NSN), a remnant from the historical first overseas ARPAnet link (Internet's ancestor) enabled him to be "virtually" there. OCL was already hooked and envisioned the Internet's potential.
Click below to jump to a particular era:
A couple of years later, he was amongst the original team of 15 co-conspirators drafting the Virus-L / comp.virus Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document about Computer Viruses.
The battle against computer viruses being of fading interest to him due to the appearance of thousands of poorly-engineered PC-based versions of new viruses, he somehow put this activity on the back-burner, and concentrated on worldwide internet access issues. His plans for UK-based ISPs relate back to 1992, when only two commercial ventures and plans for a London based International Exchange Point (IXP) existed. Both ISP ventures are well known today and the IXP is one of Europe's largest.
Meanwhile, he was still consulted in 1993 by the UK's Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in a closed forum on the setting-up of IT Security Evaluation and Certification Schemes (ITSEC) for anti-viral products.
In the meantime, he had set-up a list of international E-mail accessibility, distributed monthly as a FAQ document in the moderated Usenet newsgroup news.answers, as well as on a handful of other Usenet newsgroups. He also took over the maintenance of the periodic USENET posting " Welcome to alt.sources!" from Jonathan Kamens - alt.sources was one of the first channels open for sharing of sources (cf. Open Source Software).
Later in the year, he advised a number of African countries on Internet networking, from policy to technical matters, an activity he has sustained to this day. The FAQ document on International E-mail accessibility prompted publication in CDROMs (Walnut Creek 1993-1999) and magazines, and was translated to various languages including German, French, Spanish and even Chinese. The Web version of the document was developed from the original Virtual Tourist World Maps (as designed by its founder Brandon Plewe) and contains hundreds of links to the rest of the Globe. OCL's list based on ISO3166 country codes was also included in the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet (1994), and some books and publications amongst which:
In December 1995, he was chartered by acclaimed authors John Levine and Carol Baroudi (Internet for Dummies) to write a chapter entitled "Setting-up a European Internet Provider" in the IDG book entitled "Internet Secrets". Seen today, it is an extraordinary snapshot of what was available then.
1995 is also the year when he was involved in the early development of a Web Design company (as badge number 2) that became one of the UK's largest Web Designers - sold for several tens of millions of pounds in the early 2000s.
OCL then contributed to the PC Magazine Networking supplement for the Middle and Near East edition (March 1996) and was mentioned in Boardwatch Magazine (December 1996) for his Web directory already described above
Acclaimed as an "Internet Veteran" by lemur-fan Joel Furr, a then well known Internet columnist in NetGuide, OCL is not as dull as he sounds. On the 1st April 1993, he published a FAQ document through the official USENET news.answers channel on "International Planet Domains", a tongue-in-cheek document describing the re-organisation of the Top Level Domain namespace - and was contacted by NASA staff in view of plans for an Inter-Planetary Internet (yes, humour can open doors).
In late 1996, the Internet Society (ISOC - which he is a member of) and the Internet Ad-Hoc Committee (IAHC) came-up with proposals to add new Top Level Domains to the list of existing TLDs. OCL got involved in the discussion of proposals, and his published Internet Draft was critical of the selection process and haste with which the changes were being implemented. A further Internet Draft that he wrote, commented on the 19 December 1996 intermediate IAHC document, which he was much less critical of. So many years later, the subject is still so controversial and so closely related to Internet Governance that only a few new Top Level Domains have been created. Pre-ICANN days, the "fly-by-night cowboy" attitude of so many players in the arena of Internet Governance prompted OCL to distance himself from endless flame wars and arguments, whilst still monitoring people burning themselves out from a distance (and keeping a quiet tab on what was happening at the newly formed ICANN).
Olivier's details are included in "Marquis' Who's Who in the World" (Reed-Elsevier) since 1999 specifically for his acclaimed internet and networking related work.
With Mobile Emporium Ltd, a separate venture he founded in 1997, he made a name for himself for a few years as a mobile phone fashion designer under the pseudonym "Olivier James". Mobile Emporium Ltd was then sold in 2000.
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OCL then flew across the pond and spent a year in New York City, working on a large internet project involving drawing of US patents and a joint venture operation with a St. Louis, Missouri based corporation. Sadly, that project was shot down on 9.11.2001 - thus prompting his return to London a month later.
With GIH running itself and a thanks to a sizzling London property market, OCL founded a construction company called Blitz Solutions Limited in 2003. This ran very successfully (taking too much of his time) until it was sold in October 2006, in light of worries he had regarding the US mortgage market and which he felt would soon reach the UK.
His desire to get re-acquainted to his birth country (and to improve his French) prompted him to return to France and take a one year Specialised Masters course in Competitive Intelligence & Knowledge Management at the SKEMA Business School (ESC Lille & CERAM) in Sophia Antipolis, near Nice. This is essentially where he brushed up on skills ranging from Strategic Analysis to Competitive Intelligence and all aspects of Knowledge Management, including decision taking within high levels of uncertainty - skills which, in his opinion, should be acquired by all competent managers having to deal with today's increasingly globalised but complex & chaotic information society. He also developed a distinct taste for Social Network Analysis, a fascinating subject attempting to make sense of complex social structures which make up most of today's organisations, as a complement to understanding an increasingly process-driven world.
An internship, working exclusively with the Director of Strategy (Customer Services) at the Toulouse Headquarters of European Aircraft manufacturer Airbus SAS completed his Specialised Masters degree - Thesis contents confidential. Main project: 20 year forecast of technologies affecting aviation.
Frequently travelling between London (still home to his "umbrella" company Global Information Highway Ltd - GIH) and the South of France, OCL focused again on the Internet, hoping that the combination of his technical knowledge and business experience would allow him to make enough noise (and be heard) to promote IPv6 transition, the next big challenge faced by the Internet. Wearing both the ISOC England and the GIH hats, he attended ICANN Paris (June 2008), IETF Dublin (August 2008), ICANN Cairo (November 2008), ICANN Mexico (February 2009) and ICANN Sydney (June 2009), at first being seen somehow as a nuisance for daring to lobby for IPv6 in those circles. Perseverance paid-off at the Mexico meeting since he co-chaired (with Patrick Vande Walle) an IPv6 workshop entitled IPv6 Introduction at the ICANN At-Large Summit General Session (February 2009) and edited a FAQ document on IPv6 from a user's perspective, aimed at both the ICANN At-Large Summit participants but also at ISOC chapters. He was also invited to appear on the panel of the IPv6 Workshop later that week (March 2009).
At ICANN's At-Large Summit in Mexico City (March 2009), OCL was also elected to the Board of the European At-Large Organisation (EURALO), specifically as special adviser for IPv6 migration.
"We need to stop seeing IPv6 transition as a cost, but envision it instead as an opportunity for the industry to come up with new products, new services, and new income streams." - ICANN Mexico, Feb 2009.
...echoing a phrase he had said circa 1994 (in the offices of a leading local politician in Sophia Antipolis): "We need to stop seeing the Internet as an American network with no potential revenue, but envision it instead as an opportunity for start-ups to come up with novel products and income streams". Sadly at the time, he was not heard by his interlocutors, the French "Minitel" providing the necessary alibi for France to miss the first boat...
Selected to be an Internet Society (ISOC) 2009 IGF Ambassador at the Internet Governance Forum taking place in Sharm el Sheikh in November 2009. Host and Moderator for the "Children in the Age of Mobile Access: The promises of Internet co-examined with the increasing challenges to Child Safety" session.
In September 2009 he was elected to become a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).
That same month , he was also elected by ALAC, ICANN's At Large Advisory Committee, to serve a year as a member of the ICANN Nominations Committee starting from the ICANN Seoul meeting (October 2009), searching for and choosing the next ICANN leaders.
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He then attended ICANN Nairobi (March 2010) where he was on the panel of the "New gTLD Update and EOI Panel Discussion" session on the first day of the conference, on behalf of At Large. At the next ICANN meeting, in Brussels (June 2010), he was elected Secretary of ICANN's European At Large Organisation (EURALO) .
Whilst participating at those meetings, he was an active member of several working groups including:
Later in the year, he was selected to be a returning Internet Society (ISOC) 2010 IGF Ambassador at the Internet Governance Forum taking place in Vilnius, Lithuania in October 2010, where he lobbied for a User-centric Internet and for IPv6 deployment.
In between meetings, he held the post of remote participation moderator for several sessions:
(A video archive of the above sessions can be accessed from the Internet Governance Forum WebCast Archive)
In addition to being a member of the Internet Society (ISOC) and on the Leadership Team of the English Chapter of the Internet Society, he is a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).
Finding no answer to repeated questions about IPv6 deployment, he led an ongoing London-based project co-funded by an Internet Society Community funding Grant, entitled: IPv6 Matrix. This project, co-sponsored by Global Information Highway Ltd, tracks the use of IPv6 for the 1 million most popular Internet Web sites. More information about this project can be found on the IPv6Matrix.org Web Site. This has led to speaking engagements this year which have taken him to Paris (France), Kiev (Ukraine) and Tunis (Tunisia). Slide decks can be found on the Slideshare Web site.
In September 2010 he was one of the local organisers and speakers at the London INET conference hosted by the Internet Society. His intervention, explaining the first results obtained from the IPv6 Matrix project - data collected for September 2010 - has been recorded in video and the slide deck can be downloaded from here. And here's why he joined the Internet Society.
In December 2010, Olivier was voted to be the Chair of the ICANN At-Large Advisory Committee, assuming this role at the San Francisco (February 2011) and Singapore (June 2011) ICANN meetings. Both were very intense, with 19 sessions in San Francisco (download report) and 17 sessions in Singapore (download report).
He has since been speaking at engagements in France (Council of Europe), Ukraine (Internet Democracy Conference), the United Kingdom, Russia (2nd Russian IGF), Serbia (EuroDIG Belgrade) and Chennai, India, on matters of IPv6, Internet Core Values and Internet Safety for Children (see link).
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In no particular order: writer (other nom de guerre); director & producer of several TV programmes (other nom de guerre); founder of an events logistics company. Enjoys windsurfing as well as playing tennis... and he still finds the time in administering Linux hosts since 1992 - enough to have first hand experience about (in order) Linux, GNU, UUCP, Perl, Python, DNS, Apache, SPF, anti-spam proxies, DKIM, IPv4/IPv6 dual stack etc. He also has a passion for programming CISCO Routers. (actually, that's a lie)
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