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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN ) is an American multistakeholder group and
nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO) or non-profit organisation, also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or social benefit, in co ...
responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several
database In computing, a database is an organized collection of Data (computing), data stored and accessed electronically. Small databases can be stored on a file system, while large databases are hosted on computer clusters or cloud storage. The Databas ...
s related to the namespaces and numerical spaces of the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a '' network of networks'' that consists of private, p ...
, ensuring the network's stable and secure operation. ICANN performs the actual technical maintenance work of the Central Internet Address pools and
DNS root zone The DNS root zone is the top-level DNS zone in the hierarchical namespace of the Domain Name System (DNS) of the Internet. Before October 1, 2016, the root zone had been overseen by the ICANN, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ...
registries pursuant to the
Internet Assigned Numbers Authority The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is a standards organization that oversees global IP address allocation, Autonomous system (Internet), autonomous system number allocation, DNS root zone, root zone management in the Domain Name Sy ...
(IANA) function contract. The contract regarding the IANA
stewardship Stewardship is an ethical value that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources. The concepts of stewardship can be applied to the environment and nature, economics, health, property, information, theology, cultural resources et ...
functions between ICANN and the
National Telecommunications and Information Administration The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is an agency of the United States Department of Commerce that serves as the President of the United States, President's principal adviser on telecommunications Telecommunica ...
(NTIA) of the
United States Department of Commerce The United States Department of Commerce is an United States federal executive departments, executive department of the Federal government of the United States, U.S. federal government concerned with creating the conditions for economic growth ...
ended on October 1, 2016, formally transitioning the functions to the global multistakeholder community. Much of its work has concerned the Internet's global
Domain Name System The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical and distributed naming system for computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations (computation) automatically. Modern d ...
(DNS), including policy development for internationalization of the DNS, introduction of new generic
top-level domain A top-level domain (TLD) is one of the Domain name, domains at the highest level in the hierarchical Domain Name System of the Internet after the root domain. The top-level domain names are installed in the DNS root zone, root zone of the name ...
s (TLDs), and the operation of
root name server A root name server is a name server for the DNS root zone, root zone of the Domain Name System (DNS) of the Internet. It directly answers requests for records in the root zone and answers other requests by returning a list of the authoritative n ...
s. The numbering facilities ICANN manages include the
Internet Protocol The Internet Protocol (IP) is the network layer communications protocol in the Internet protocol suite for relaying datagrams across network boundaries. Its routing function enables internetworking, and essentially establishes the Internet. IP h ...
address spaces for
IPv4 Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is the fourth version of the Internet Protocol The Internet Protocol (IP) is the network layer communications protocol in the Internet protocol suite for relaying datagrams across network boundaries. Its ro ...
and
IPv6 Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP), the communication protocol, communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic ...
, and assignment of address blocks to regional Internet registries. ICANN also maintains registries of Internet Protocol identifiers. ICANN's primary principles of operation have been described as helping preserve the operational stability of the Internet; to promote competition; to achieve broad representation of the global Internet community; and to develop policies appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes. ICANN's creation was announced publicly on September 17, 1998, and it formally came into being on January 15, 1997, incorporated in the U.S. state of California. Originally headquartered in
Marina del Rey Marina del Rey (Spanish language, Spanish for "Marina of the King") is an unincorporated area, unincorporated seaside community in Los Angeles County, California, with an eponymous harbor that is a major boating and water recreation destination ...
in the same building as the
University of Southern California , mottoeng = "Let whoever earns the palm bear it" , religious_affiliation = Nonsectarian—historically Methodist Methodism, also called the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related Christian denomination, denominations of ...
's
Information Sciences Institute The USC Information Sciences Institute (ISI) is a component of the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering, and specializes in research and development in information processing, computing, and communications techno ...
(ISI), its offices are now in the
Playa Vista Playa Vista is a list of districts and neighborhoods in Los Angeles, neighborhood in the Westside (Los Angeles County), Westside area of Los Angeles, California. The area was Hughes Airport (California), the headquarters of Hughes Aircraft Company ...
neighborhood of Los Angeles.


History

Before the establishment of ICANN, the
IANA The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is a standards organization that oversees global IP address allocation, Autonomous system (Internet), autonomous system number allocation, DNS root zone, root zone management in the Domain Name Sy ...
function of administering registries of Internet protocol identifiers (including the distributing top-level domains and IP addresses) was performed by
Jon Postel Jonathan Bruce Postel (; August 6, 1943 – October 16, 1998) was an American computer scientist who made many significant contributions to the development of the Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconne ...
, a Computer Science researcher who had been involved in the creation of
ARPANET The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was the first wide-area packet-switched network with distributed control and one of the first networks to implement the TCP/IP protocol suite. Both technologies became the technical fo ...
, first at
UCLA The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university in Los Angeles, California. UCLA's academic roots were established in 1881 as a Normal school, teachers colle ...
and then at USC-ISI. In 1997 Postel testified before Congress that this had come about as a "side task" to this research work. The Information Sciences Institute was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, as was SRI International's Network Information Center, which also performed some assigned name functions. As the Internet grew and expanded globally, the U.S. Department of Commerce initiated a process to establish a new organization to perform the IANA functions. On January 30, 1998, the
National Telecommunications and Information Administration The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is an agency of the United States Department of Commerce that serves as the President of the United States, President's principal adviser on telecommunications Telecommunica ...
(NTIA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, issued for comment, "A Proposal to Improve the Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses." The proposed rule making, or "Green Paper", was published in the Federal Register on February 20, 1998, providing opportunity for public comment. NTIA received more than 650 comments as of March 23, 1998, when the comment period closed. The Green Paper proposed certain actions designed to privatize the management of Internet names and addresses in a manner that allows for the development of competition and facilitates global participation in Internet management. The Green Paper proposed for discussion a variety of issues relating to
DNS The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical and distributed naming system for computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations (computation) automatically. Modern d ...
management including private sector creation of a new not-for-profit corporation (the "new corporation") managed by a globally and functionally representative board of directors. ICANN was formed in response to this policy. ICANN managed the
Internet Assigned Numbers Authority The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is a standards organization that oversees global IP address allocation, Autonomous system (Internet), autonomous system number allocation, DNS root zone, root zone management in the Domain Name Sy ...
(IANA) under contract to the
United States Department of Commerce The United States Department of Commerce is an United States federal executive departments, executive department of the Federal government of the United States, U.S. federal government concerned with creating the conditions for economic growth ...
(DOC) and pursuant to an agreement with the
IETF The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is a standards organization for the Internet standard, Internet and is responsible for the technical standards that make up the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It has no formal membership roster or ...
. ICANN was incorporated in California on September 30, 1998, with entrepreneur and philanthropist Esther Dyson as founding chairwoman. It is a nonprofit public benefit corporation "organized under the California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law for charitable and public purposes." ICANN was established in California due to the presence of
Jon Postel Jonathan Bruce Postel (; August 6, 1943 – October 16, 1998) was an American computer scientist who made many significant contributions to the development of the Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconne ...
, who was a founder of ICANN and was set to be its first Chief Technology Officer prior to his unexpected death. ICANN formerly operated from the same
Marina del Rey Marina del Rey (Spanish language, Spanish for "Marina of the King") is an unincorporated area, unincorporated seaside community in Los Angeles County, California, with an eponymous harbor that is a major boating and water recreation destination ...
building where Postel formerly worked, which is home to an office of the
Information Sciences Institute The USC Information Sciences Institute (ISI) is a component of the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering, and specializes in research and development in information processing, computing, and communications techno ...
at the
University of Southern California , mottoeng = "Let whoever earns the palm bear it" , religious_affiliation = Nonsectarian—historically Methodist Methodism, also called the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related Christian denomination, denominations of ...
. However, ICANN's headquarters is now located in the nearby
Playa Vista Playa Vista is a list of districts and neighborhoods in Los Angeles, neighborhood in the Westside (Los Angeles County), Westside area of Los Angeles, California. The area was Hughes Airport (California), the headquarters of Hughes Aircraft Company ...
neighborhood of
Los Angeles Los Angeles ( ; es, Los Ángeles, link=no , ), often referred to by its initials L.A., is the largest city in the state of California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, located along the West Coast of ...
. Per its original
by-law A by-law (bye-law, by(e)law, by(e) law), or as it is most commonly known in the United States bylaws, is a set of rules or law established by an organization or community so as to regulate itself, as allowed or provided for by some higher authorit ...
s, primary responsibility for policy formation in ICANN was to be delegated to three supporting organizations (Address Supporting Organization, Domain Name Supporting Organization, and Protocol Supporting Organization), each of which was to develop and recommend substantive policies and procedures for the management of the identifiers within their respective scope. They were also required to be financially independent from ICANN. As expected, the regional Internet registries and the
IETF The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is a standards organization for the Internet standard, Internet and is responsible for the technical standards that make up the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It has no formal membership roster or ...
agreed to serve as the Address Supporting Organization and Protocol Supporting Organization respectively, and ICANN issued a call for interested parties to propose the structure and composition of the Domain Name Supporting Organization. In March 1999, the ICANN Board, based in part on the DNSO proposals received, decided instead on an alternate construction for the DNSO which delineated specific constituencies bodies within ICANN itself, thus adding primary responsibility for DNS policy development to ICANN's existing duties of oversight and coordination. On July 26, 2006, the United States government renewed the contract with ICANN for performance of the
IANA The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is a standards organization that oversees global IP address allocation, Autonomous system (Internet), autonomous system number allocation, DNS root zone, root zone management in the Domain Name Sy ...
function for an additional one to five years. The context of ICANN's relationship with the U.S. government was clarified on September 29, 2006, when ICANN signed a new memorandum of understanding with the
United States Department of Commerce The United States Department of Commerce is an United States federal executive departments, executive department of the Federal government of the United States, U.S. federal government concerned with creating the conditions for economic growth ...
(DOC). This document gave the DOC oversight over some of the ICANN operations. During July 2008, the DOC reiterated an earlier statement that it has "no plans to transition management of the authoritative root zone file to ICANN". The letter also stresses the separate roles of the
IANA The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is a standards organization that oversees global IP address allocation, Autonomous system (Internet), autonomous system number allocation, DNS root zone, root zone management in the Domain Name Sy ...
and VeriSign. On September 30, 2009, ICANN signed an agreement with the DOC (known as the "Affirmation of Commitments") that confirmed ICANN's commitment to a multistakeholder governance model,"US Government finally lets ICANN go"
Eileen Yu,
ZDNet ZDNET is a business technology news website owned and operated by Red Ventures. The brand was founded on April 1, 1991, as a general interest technology portal from Ziff Davis and evolved into an Enterprise software, enterprise IT-focused onlin ...
, September 30, 2009.
but did not remove it from DOC oversight and control. On March 10, 2016, ICANN and the DOC signed a historic, culminating agreement to finally remove ICANN and IANA from the control and oversight of the DOC. On October 1, 2016, ICANN was freed from U.S. government oversight.


Notable events

On March 18, 2002, publicly elected At-Large Representative for North America board member Karl Auerbach sued ICANN in Superior Court in California to gain access to ICANN's accounting records without restriction. Auerbach won. During September and October 2003, ICANN played a crucial role in the conflict over VeriSign's "wild card" DNS service Site Finder. After an open letter from ICANN issuing an ultimatum to VeriSign, later endorsed by the
Internet Architecture Board The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is "a committee of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and an advisory body of the Internet Society (ISOC). Its responsibilities include architectural oversight of IETF activities, Internet Standards ...
, the company voluntarily ended the service on October 4, 2003. After this action, VeriSign filed a lawsuit against ICANN on February 27, 2004, claiming that ICANN had exceeded its authority. By this lawsuit, VeriSign sought to reduce ambiguity about ICANN's authority. The antitrust component of VeriSign's claim was dismissed during August 2004. VeriSign's challenge that ICANN overstepped its contractual rights is currently outstanding. A proposed settlement already approved by ICANN's board would resolve VeriSign's challenge to ICANN in exchange for the right to increase pricing on .com domains. At the meeting of ICANN in Rome, which took place from March 2 to 6, 2004, ICANN agreed to ask approval of the U.S. Department of Commerce for the Waiting List Service of VeriSign. On May 17, 2004, ICANN published a proposed budget for the year 2004–05. It included proposals to increase the openness and professionalism of its operations, and greatly increased its proposed spending from US$8.27 million to $15.83 million. The increase was to be funded by the introduction of new
top-level domain A top-level domain (TLD) is one of the Domain name, domains at the highest level in the hierarchical Domain Name System of the Internet after the root domain. The top-level domain names are installed in the DNS root zone, root zone of the name ...
s, charges to domain registries, and a fee for some domain name registrations, renewals and transfers (initially US$0.20 for all domains within a country-code top-level domain, and US$0.25 for all others). The Council of European National Top Level Domain Registries (CENTR), which represents the Internet registries of 39 countries, rejected the increase, accusing ICANN of a lack of financial prudence and criticizing what it describes as ICANN's "unrealistic political and operational targets". Despite the criticism, the registry agreement for the top-level domains and includes a US$2 fee on every domain the licensed companies sell or renew. After a second round of negotiations during 2004, the TLDs , , , , , and were introduced during 2005. On February 28, 2006, ICANN's board approved a settlement with VeriSign in the lawsuit resulting from SiteFinder that involved allowing VeriSign (the registry) to raise its registration fees by up to 7% a year. This was criticised by a few members of the U.S. House of Representatives' Small Business Committee. During February 2007, ICANN began procedures to end accreditation of one of their registrars, RegisterFly amid charges and lawsuits involving fraud, and criticism of ICANN's management of the situation. ICANN has been the subject of criticism as a result of its handling of RegisterFly, and the harm caused to thousands of clients as a result of what has been termed ICANN's "laissez faire attitude toward customer allegations of fraud". On May 23, 2008, ICANN issued enforcement notices against ten accredited registrars and announced this through a press release entitled "'Worst Spam Offenders' Notified by ICANN, Compliance system working to correct Whois and other issues." This was largely in response to a report issued by KnujOn, called "The 10 Worst Registrars" in terms of spam advertised junk product sites and compliance failure. The mention of the word "
spam Spam may refer to: * Spam (food), a canned pork meat product * Spamming, unsolicited or undesired electronic messages ** Email spam, unsolicited, undesired, or illegal email messages ** Messaging spam, spam targeting users of instant messagin ...
" in the title of the ICANN memo is somewhat misleading since ICANN does not address issues of spam or email abuse. Website content and usage are not within ICANN's mandate. However, the KnujOn report details how various registrars have not complied with their contractual obligations under the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA). The main point of the KnujOn research was to demonstrate the relationships between compliance failure, illicit product traffic, and spam. The report demonstrated that out of 900 ICANN accredited registrars, fewer than 20 held 90% of the web domains advertised in spam. These same registrars were also most frequently cited by KnujOn as failing to resolve complaints made through the Whois Data Problem Reporting System (WDPRS). On June 26, 2008, the ICANN Board started a new process of TLD naming policy to take a "significant step forward on the introduction of new generic top-level domains." This program envisioned the availability of many new or already proposed domains, as well a new application and implementation process. On October 1, 2008, ICANN issued breach notices against Joker and Beijing Innovative Linkage Technology Ltd. after further researching reports and complaints issued by KnujOn. These notices gave the registrars 15 days to fix their Whois investigation efforts. In 2010, ICANN approved a major review of its policies with respect to
accountability Accountability, in terms of ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of morality, right and wrong action (philosophy), behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of P ...
, transparency, and public participation by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at
Harvard University Harvard University is a Private university, private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1636 as Harvard College and named for its first benefactor, the History of the Puritans in North America, Puritan cler ...
. This external review was an assistance of the work of ICANN's Accountability and Transparency Review team. On February 3, 2011, ICANN announced that it had distributed the last batch of its remaining IPv4 addresses to the world's five regional Internet registries, the organizations that manage IP addresses in different regions. These registries began assigning the final IPv4 addresses within their regions until they ran out completely. On June 20, 2011, the ICANN board voted to end most restrictions on the names of generic top-level domains (gTLD). Companies and organizations became able to choose essentially arbitrary top-level Internet domain names. The use of non-Latin characters (such as Cyrillic, Arabic, Chinese, etc.) is also allowed in gTLDs. ICANN began accepting applications for new gTLDS on January 12, 2012. The initial price to apply for a new gTLD was set at $185,000 and the annual renewal fee is $25,000. Following the 2013 NSA spying scandal, ICANN endorsed the Montevideo Statement,Montevideo Statement on the Future of Internet Cooperation
ICANN, October 7, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
although no direct connection between these could be proven.Do the NSA revelations have anything to do with Internet governance?
Internet Governance Project, February 19, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2016
On October 1, 2016, ICANN ended its contract with the United States Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and entered the private sector. The
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
's General Data Protection Regulation (active since May 25, 2018) impacted on ICANN operations, which the latter tried to fix through last-minute changes.


Structure

From its founding to the present, ICANN has been formally organized as a nonprofit corporation "for charitable and public purposes" under the California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law. It is managed by a 16-member board of directors composed of eight members selected by a nominating committee on which all the constituencies of ICANN are represented; six representatives of its Supporting Organizations, sub-groups that deal with specific sections of the policies under ICANN's purview; an at-large seat filled by an at-large organization; and the president / CEO, appointed by the board. There are currently three supporting organizations: the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) deals with policy making on generic top-level domains (gTLDs); the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) deals with policy making on country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs); the Address Supporting Organization (ASO) deals with policy making on IP addresses. ICANN also relies on some advisory committees and other advisory mechanisms to receive advice on the interests and needs of stakeholders that do not directly participate in the Supporting Organizations. These include the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), which is composed of representatives of a large number of national governments from all over the world; the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), which is composed of individual Internet users from around the world selected by each of the Regional At-Large Organizations (RALO) and Nominating Committee; the Root Server System Advisory Committee, which provides advice on the operation of the DNS root server system; the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC), which is composed of Internet experts who study security issues pertaining to ICANN's mandate; and the Technical Liaison Group (TLG), which is composed of representatives of other international technical organizations that focus, at least in part, on the Internet.


Governmental Advisory Committee


Representatives

The Governmental Advisory Committee has representatives from 179 states and 38 Observer organizations, including the
Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome, Petrine See or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Pope in his role as the bishop of Rome. It includes the apostolic see, apostolic episcopal see of the ...
,
Cook Islands ) , image_map = Cook Islands on the globe (small islands magnified) (Polynesia centered).svg , capital = Avarua , coordinates = , largest_city = Avarua , official_languages = , langu ...
,
Niue Niue (, ; niu, Niuē) is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, northeast of New Zealand. Niue's land area is about and its population, predominantly Polynesians, Polynesian, was about 1,600 in 2016. Niue is located in a triangle b ...
,
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China Sea, East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the n ...
,
Hong Kong Hong Kong ( (US) or (UK); , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (abbr. Hong Kong SAR or HKSAR), is a List of cities in China, city and Special administrative regions of China, special ...
,
Bermuda ) , anthem = "God Save the King" , song_type = National song , song = "Hail to Bermuda" , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 = , mapsize2 = , map_caption2 = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = , es ...
,
Montserrat Montserrat ( ) is a British Overseas Territories, British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean. It is part of the Leeward Islands, the northern portion of the Lesser Antilles chain of the West Indies. Montserrat is about long and wide, with r ...
, the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, with 27 European Commissioner, members of the Commission (informally known as "Commissioners") headed by a P ...
and the African Union Commission.


Observers

In addition the following organizations are GAC Observers: *
African Telecommunications Union The African Telecommunications Union (ATU) is an organization in Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) ...
*
Asia-Pacific Telecommunity The Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) was founded on the joint initiatives of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), and the International Telecommunication Union The International Telecommun ...
* Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) * Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) *
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation founded in the wake of World War II to uphold European Convention on Human Rights, human rights, democracy and the Law in Europe, rule of law in Europe. ...
* Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) *
European Broadcasting Union The European Broadcasting Union (EBU; french: Union européenne de radio-télévision, links=no, UER) is an alliance of Public broadcasting, public service media organisations whose countries are within the European Broadcasting Area or who ar ...
*
European Organization for Nuclear Research The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN (; ; ), is an intergovernmental organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. Established in 1954, it is based in a northwestern suburb of Gene ...
(CERN) *
European Space Agency , owners = , headquarters = Paris, Île-de-France, France , coordinates = , spaceport = Guiana Space Centre , seal = File:ESA emblem seal.png , seal_size = 130px , image = Views in the Main Control Room (1205 ...
* International Labour Office *
International Telecommunication Union The International Telecommunication Union is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for many matters related to information and communication technologies. It was established on 17 May 1865 as the International Telegraph Unio ...
(ITU) * International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) *
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is a Humanitarianism, humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million Volunteering, volunteers, members and staff worldwide. It was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure re ...
* Latin American Association of Telecom Regulatory Agencies (REGULATEL) * League of Arab States *
New Partnership for Africa's Development The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) is an economic development program of the African Union. NEPAD was adopted at the 37th session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in July 2001 in Lusaka, Zambia. NEPAD aims to p ...
(NEPAD) *
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques, ''OCDE'') is an intergovernmental organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate ...
* The Organization for Islamic Cooperation *
Organization of American States The Organization of American States (OAS; es, Organización de los Estados Americanos, pt, Organização dos Estados Americanos, french: Organisation des États américains; ''OEA'') is an international organization that was founded on 30 April ...
*
Organisation internationale de la Francophonie The (OIF; sometimes shortened to the Francophonie, french: La Francophonie , but also called International Organisation of in English-language context) is an international organization representing countries and regions where French langua ...
(OIF) *
Pacific Islands Forum The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) is an intergovernmentalism, inter-governmental organization that aims to enhance cooperation between countries and territories of Oceania, including formation of a trade bloc and regional peacekeeping operations. ...
* Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) *
Inter-American Telecommunication Commission The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission or ''Comisión Interamericana de Telecomunicaciones'' (CITEL) is an entity of the Organization of American States The Organization of American States (OAS; es, Organización de los Estados American ...
(CITEL) *
International Criminal Court The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) is an intergovernmental organization and International court, international tribunal seated in The Hague, Netherlands. It is the first and only permanent international court with jurisdiction to pro ...
* United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) *
Universal Postal Union The Universal Postal Union (UPU, french: link=no, Union postale universelle), established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874, is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that coordinates po ...
*
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and Grant (money), grants to the governments of Least developed countries, low- and Developing country, middle-income countries for the purpose of pursuing capital pro ...
*
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution states its main objective as "the attainme ...
(WHO) *
World Intellectual Property Organization The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO; french: link=no, Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI)) is one of the 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergover ...
(WIPO) *
World Meteorological Organization The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a List of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for promoting international cooperation on atmospheric science, climatology, hydrology and ...
*
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization Globalization is social change associated with increased connectivity among societies and their elements and the explosive evolution of transportation and telecommunica ...


Trusted Community Representatives

As the operator of the IANA domain name functions, ICANN is responsible for the
DNSSEC The Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) are a suite of extension specifications by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for securing data exchanged in the Domain Name System (DNS) in Internet Protocol (IP) networks. The protocol ...
management of the root zone. While day-to-day operations are managed by ICANN and Verisign, the trust is rooted in a group of Trusted Community Representatives. The members of this group must not be affiliated with ICANN, but are instead members of the broader DNS community, volunteering to become a Trusted Community Representative. The role of the representatives are primarily to take part in regular key ceremonies at a physical location, organized by ICANN, and to safeguard the key materials in between.


Democratic input

In the Memorandum of understanding that set up the relationship between ICANN and the U.S. government, ICANN was given a mandate requiring that it operate "in a bottom up, consensus driven, democratic manner." However, the attempts that ICANN have made to establish an
organizational structure An organizational structure defines how activities such as task allocation, coordination, and supervision are directed toward the achievement of organizational aims. Organizational structure affects organizational action and provides the foundat ...
that would allow wide input from the global Internet community did not produce results amenable to the current Board. As a result, the At-Large constituency and direct election of board members by the global Internet community were soon abandoned. ICANN holds periodic public meetings rotated between continents for the purpose of encouraging global participation in its processes. Resolutions of the ICANN Board, preliminary reports, and minutes of the meetings, are published on the ICANN website, sometimes in real time. However, there are criticisms from ICANN constituencies including the Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC) and the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) that there is not enough public disclosure and that too many discussions and decisions take place out of sight of the public. During the early 2000s, there had been speculation that the United Nations might assume control of ICANN, followed by a negative reaction from the U.S. government and worries about a division of the Internet. The World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia during November 2005 agreed not to get involved in the day-to-day and technical operations of ICANN. However it also agreed to establish an international Internet Governance Forum, with a consultative role on the future governance of the Internet. ICANN's Government Advisory Committee is currently established to provide advice to ICANN regarding public policy issues and has participation by many of the world's governments. Some have attempted to argue that ICANN was never given the authority to decide policy, e.g., choose new TLDs or exclude other interested parties who refuse to pay ICANN's US$185,000 fee, but was to be a technical caretaker. Critics suggest that ICANN should not be allowed to impose business rules on market participants, and that all TLDs should be added on a
first-come, first-served Queueing theory is the mathematical study of waiting lines, or wikt:queue, queues. A queueing model is constructed so that queue lengths and waiting time can be predicted. Queueing theory is generally considered a branch of operations research b ...
basis and the market should be the arbiter of who succeeds and who does not.


Activities


Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)

One task that ICANN was asked to do was to address the issue of domain name ownership resolution for generic top-level domains (gTLDs). ICANN's attempt at such a policy was drafted in close cooperation with the
World Intellectual Property Organization The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO; french: link=no, Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI)) is one of the 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergover ...
(WIPO), and the result has now become known as the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). This policy essentially attempts to provide a mechanism for rapid, cheap and reasonable resolution of domain name conflicts, avoiding the traditional court system for disputes by allowing cases to be brought to one of a set of bodies that arbitrate domain name disputes. According to ICANN policy, domain registrants must agree to be bound by the UDRP—they cannot get a domain name without agreeing to this. Examination of the UDRP decision patterns has caused some to conclude that compulsory domain name arbitration is less likely to give a fair hearing to domain name owners asserting defenses under the First Amendment and other laws, compared to the federal courts of appeal in particular.


Proposed elimination of public DNS whois

In 2013, the initial report of ICANN's Expert Working Group has recommended that the present form of
Whois WHOIS (pronounced as the phrase "who is") is a query and response Communications protocol, protocol that is widely used for querying databases that store the registered users or assignees of an Internet resource, such as a domain name, an IP addre ...
, a utility that allows anyone to know who has registered a domain name on the Internet, should be "abandoned". It recommends it be replaced with a system that keeps most registration information secret (or "gated") from most Internet users, and only discloses information for "permissible purposes". ICANN's list of permissible purposes includes domain name research, domain name sale and purchase, regulatory enforcement, personal data protection, legal actions, and abuse mitigation. Whois has been a key tool of investigative journalists interested in determining who was disseminating information on the Internet. The use of whois by journalists is not included in the list of permissible purposes in the initial report.


Criticism

Since its creation, ICANN has been the subject of criticism and controversy. In 2000, professor Michael Froomkin of the
University of Miami School of Law The University of Miami School of Law (Miami Law or UM Law) is the law school in the United States, law school of the University of Miami, a Private university, private research university in Coral Gables, Florida. Founded in 1926, the Universit ...
argued that ICANN's relationship with the U.S. Department of Commerce is illegal, in violation of either the
Constitution A constitution is the aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity A polity is an identifiable Politics, political entity – a group of people with a collective identity, who ...
or federal statutes. In 2009, the new ''Affirmation of Commitments'' agreement between ICANN and the U.S. Department of Commerce, that aimed to create international oversight, ran into criticism. Proposals have been made to internationalize ICANN's monitoring responsibilities (currently the responsibility of the US), to transform it into an international organization (under
international law International law (also known as public international law and the law of nations) is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between State (polity), states. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptua ...
), and to "establish an intergovernmental mechanism enabling governments, on an equal footing, to carry out their role and responsibilities in international public policy issues pertaining to the Internet". During December 2011, the
Federal Trade Commission The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC shares jurisdiction ...
stated ICANN had long failed to provide safeguards that protect consumers from online swindlers.


TLD expansion

Also during 2011, seventy-nine companies, including
The Coca-Cola Company The Coca-Cola Company is an American multinational corporation, multinational Drink industry, beverage corporation founded in 1892, best known as the producer of Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola Company also manufactures, sells, and markets other non-a ...
,
Hewlett-Packard The Hewlett-Packard Company, commonly shortened to Hewlett-Packard ( ) or HP, was an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Palo Alto, California. HP developed and provided a wide variety of hardware components ...
,
Samsung The Samsung Group (or simply Samsung) ( ko, 삼성 ) is a South Korean Multinational corporation, multinational manufacturing Conglomerate (company), conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea. It comprises numerous affi ...
and others, signed a petition against ICANN's new TLD program (sometimes referred to as a "commercial landgrab"), in a group organized by the
Association of National Advertisers The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) represents the marketing community in the United States. Its headquarters is in New York City and it has another office in Washington, D.C. ANA's membership includes over 600 companies with 25,000 br ...
. As of September 2014, this group, the Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight, that opposes the rollout of ICANN's TLD expansion program, has been joined by 102 associations and 79 major companies. Partly as a response to this criticism, ICANN initiated an effort to protect trademarks in domain name registrations, which eventually culminated in the establishment of the Trademark Clearinghouse.


IBSA proposal (2011)

One controversial proposal, resulting from a September 2011 summit between India, Brazil, and South Africa (IBSA), would seek to move Internet governance into a "UN Committee on Internet-Related Policy" (UN-CIRP)."Recommendations from the IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) Multistakeholder meeting on Global Internet Governance"
, September 1–2, 2011, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The action was a reaction to a perception that the principles of the 2005 Tunis Agenda for the Information Society have not been met. The statement proposed the creation of a new political organization operating as a component of the United Nations to provide policy recommendations for the consideration of technical organizations such as ICANN and international bodies such as the ITU. Subsequent to public criticisms, the Indian government backed away from the proposal.


Montevideo Statement on the Future of Internet Cooperation (2013)

On October 7, 2013, the Montevideo Statement on the Future of Internet Cooperation was released by the managers of a number of organizations involved in coordinating the Internet's global technical infrastructure, loosely known as the "I*" (or "I-star") group. Among other things, the statement "expressed strong concern over the undermining of the trust and confidence of Internet users globally due to recent revelations of pervasive monitoring and surveillance" and "called for accelerating the globalization of ICANN and IANA functions, towards an environment in which all stakeholders, including all governments, participate on an equal footing". This desire to reduce United States association with the internet is considered a reaction to the ongoing NSA surveillance scandal. The statement was signed by the managers of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the
Internet Engineering Task Force The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is a standards organization for the Internet standard, Internet and is responsible for the technical standards that make up the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It has no formal membership roster or ...
, the
Internet Architecture Board The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is "a committee of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and an advisory body of the Internet Society (ISOC). Its responsibilities include architectural oversight of IETF activities, Internet Standards ...
, the
World Wide Web Consortium The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web. Founded in 1994 and led by Tim Berners-Lee, the consortium is made up of member organizations that maintain full-time staff working to ...
, the
Internet Society The Internet Society (ISOC) is an American nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1992 with local chapters around the world. Its mission is "to promote the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people ...
, and the five regional Internet address registries ( African Network Information Center, American Registry for Internet Numbers, Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre, Latin America and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry, and Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre).


Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance (2013)

During October 2013, Fadi Chehadé, former president and CEO of ICANN, met with Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia. Upon Chehadé's invitation, the two announced that Brazil would host an international summit on Internet governance during April 2014. The announcement came after the 2013 disclosures of mass surveillance by the U.S. government, and Rousseff's speech at the opening session of the 2013 United Nations General Assembly, where she strongly criticized the American surveillance program as a "breach of international law". The " Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance (NET mundial)" will include representatives of government, industry, civil society, and academia. At the IGF VIII meeting in Bali in October 2013 a commenter noted that Brazil intends the meeting to be a "
summit A summit is a point on a surface that is higher in elevation than all points immediately adjacent to it. The topography, topographic terms acme, apex, peak (mountain peak), and zenith are synonymous. The term (mountain top) is generally used ...
" in the sense that it will be high level with decision-making authority."Chair's Summary"
Eighth Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Bali, Indonesia, October 22–25, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
The organizers of the "NET mundial" meeting have decided that an online forum called "/1net", set up by the I* group, will be a major conduit of non-governmental input into the three committees preparing for the meeting in April. The
Obama administration Barack Obama's tenure as the List of presidents of the United States, 44th president of the United States began with First inauguration of Barack Obama, his first inauguration on January 20, 2009, and ended on January 20, 2017. A Democratic Pa ...
that had joined critics of ICANN during 2011 announced in March 2014 that they intended to transition away from oversight of the IANA functions contract. The current contract that the
United States Department of Commerce The United States Department of Commerce is an United States federal executive departments, executive department of the Federal government of the United States, U.S. federal government concerned with creating the conditions for economic growth ...
has with ICANN expired in 2015, in its place the NTIA will transition oversight of the IANA functions to the 'global multistakeholder community'.


NetMundial Initiative (2014)

The NetMundial Initiative is a plan for international governance of the Internet that was first proposed at the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance (GMMFIG) conference (April 23–24, 2014) and later developed into the NetMundial Initiative by ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé along with representatives of the
World Economic Forum The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an international non-governmental organization, international non-governmental and Lobbying organization, lobbying organisation based in Cologny, canton of Geneva, Switzerland. It was founded on 24 January 197 ...
(WEF) and the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (Comitê Gestor da Internet no Brasil), commonly referred to as "CGI.br". The meeting produced a nonbinding statement in favor of consensus-based decision-making. It represented a compromise and did not harshly condemn mass surveillance or support
net neutrality Network neutrality, often referred to as net neutrality, is the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) must treat all Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that u ...
, despite initial endorsement for that from Brazil. The final resolution says ICANN should be controlled internationally by September 2015. A minority of governments, including Russia, China, Iran and India, were unhappy with the final resolution and wanted multilateral management for the Internet, rather than broader multistakeholder management. A month later, the Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms (convened by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the
World Economic Forum The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an international non-governmental organization, international non-governmental and Lobbying organization, lobbying organisation based in Cologny, canton of Geneva, Switzerland. It was founded on 24 January 197 ...
(WEF) with assistance from The Annenberg Foundation), endorsed and included the NetMundial statement in its own report. During June 2014, France strongly attacked ICANN, saying ICANN is not a fit venue for Internet governance and that alternatives should be sought.


.sucks domain

ICANN has received more than $60 million from gTLD auctions, and has accepted the controversial domain name ".sucks" (referring to the primarily US slang for being inferior or objectionable). sucks domains are owned and controlled by the Vox Populi Registry which won the rights for .sucks gTLD in November 2014. The .sucks domain registrar has been described as "predatory, exploitive and coercive" by the Intellectual Property Constituency that advises the ICANN board. When the .sucks registry announced their pricing model, "most brand owners were upset and felt like they were being penalized by having to pay more to protect their brands." Because of the low utility of the ".sucks" domain, most fees come from "Brand Protection" customers registering their trademarks to prevent domains being registered. Canadian brands had complained that they were being charged "exorbitant" prices to register their trademarks as premium names. FTC chair Edith Ramirez has written to ICANN to say the agency will take action against the .sucks owner if "we have reason to believe an entity has engaged in deceptive or unfair practices in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act". The Register reported that intellectual property lawyers are infuriated that "the dot-sucks registry was charging trademark holders $2,500 for .sucks domains and everyone else $10." U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte has said that trademark holders are "being shaken down" by the registry's fees. Jay Rockefeller says that .sucks is "a predatory shakedown scheme" and "Approving '.sucks', a gTLD with little or no public interest value, will have the effect of undermining the credibility ICANN has slowly been building with skeptical stakeholders."


.islam, .halal top level domains

In a long-running dispute, ICANN has so far declined to allow a Turkish company to purchase the .islam and .halal gTLDs, after the
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation An organization or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), see spelling differences), is an legal entity, entity—such as ...
objected that the gTLDs should be administered by an organization that represents all the world's 1.6 billion Muslims. After a number of attempts to resolve the issue the domains are still held "on hold".


.org price cap removal

In April 2019, ICANN proposed an end to the price cap of org domains and effectively removed it in July in spite of having received 3,252 opposing comments and only six in favor. A few months later, the owner of the domain, the
Public Interest Registry Public Interest Registry is a not-for-profit based in Reston, Virginia, created by the Internet Society in 2002 to manage the .org, .ORG top-level domain. It took over operation of .ORG in January 2003 and launched the .NGO and .ONG top-level domai ...
, proposed to sell the domain to investment firm Ethos Capital.


.amazon gTLD dispute

In May 2019, ICANN decided in favor of granting exclusive administration rights to amazon.com for the .amazon gTLD after a 7 year long dispute with the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO).


See also

* Alternative DNS root * Domain name scams *
Domain Name System The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical and distributed naming system for computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations (computation) automatically. Modern d ...
**
Domain name A domain name is a String (computer science), string that identifies a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. Domain names are often used to identify services provided through the Internet, such as websites, e ...
**
Domain name registrar A domain name registrar is a company that manages the reservation of Internet domain names. A domain name registrar must be accredited by a generic top-level domain (gTLD) Domain name registry, registry or a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) ...
**
Internationalized domain name An internationalized domain name (IDN) is an Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It ...
**
Top-level domain A top-level domain (TLD) is one of the Domain name, domains at the highest level in the hierarchical Domain Name System of the Internet after the root domain. The top-level domain names are installed in the DNS root zone, root zone of the name ...
***
Country code top-level domain A country code top-level domain (ccTLD) is an Internet top-level domain generally used or reserved for a country, sovereign state, or dependent territory identified with a country code. All ASCII ccTLD identifiers are two letters long, and all tw ...
*** Generic top-level domain *** Geographic top-level domain (GeoTLD) * IEEE Registration Authority *
Internet Assigned Numbers Authority The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is a standards organization that oversees global IP address allocation, Autonomous system (Internet), autonomous system number allocation, DNS root zone, root zone management in the Domain Name Sy ...
(IANA) *
InterNIC The Network Information Center (NIC), also known as InterNIC from 1993 until 1998, was the organization primarily responsible for Domain Name System (DNS) domain name allocations and X.500 directory services. From its inception in 1972 until Oc ...
* List of ICANN meetings * List of United States quangos * Montevideo Statement on the Future of Internet Cooperation * NetMundial Initiative, a plan for governance of the Internet * Network Solutions * OneWebDay * OpenNIC * Trademark Clearinghouse * Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy *
WHOIS WHOIS (pronounced as the phrase "who is") is a query and response Communications protocol, protocol that is widely used for querying databases that store the registered users or assignees of an Internet resource, such as a domain name, an IP addre ...


References


Further reading

* Brito, Jerry.
ICANN vs. the World
" ''
TIME Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a component quantity of various me ...
''. March 5, 2011. Retrieved March 6, 2011. * Franda, Marcus, ''The Emergence of an International Regime'', * Wass, Erica, ''Addressing the World'', * Paré, Daniel J. ''Internet Governance in Transition'', * Mueller, Milton L. ''Ruling the Root'', * Froomkin, A. Michae
Wrong Turn in Cyberspace: Using ICANN to Route Around the APA and the Constitution
50 Duke Law Journal17 (2000) *


External links

*
ICANN DNS Operations
* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Icann Domain Name System Domain name registries History of the Internet Information technology organizations Internet governance organizations Internet in the United States Non-profit organizations based in California Organizations established in 1998 United States Department of Commerce 1998 establishments in California