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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), 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 contrast with an entity that o ...
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 from a computer system. Where databases are more complex they are often developed using formal #Design and modeling, design and mode ...

database
s related to the
namespace In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and softw ...

namespace
s 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 ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
, 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 A DNS zone is any distinct, contiguous portion of the domain name space in the Domain Name System The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical and decentralized naming system for computers, serv ...
registries pursuant to the
Internet Assigned Numbers Authority The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is a standards organization that oversees global IP address An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label such as that is connected to a computer network A computer ne ...
(IANA) function contract. The contract regarding the IANA
stewardship Stewardship is an ethic 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 etc. Histo ...

stewardship
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 The United States Department of Commerce is an executive department of the U.S. federal government concerned w ...
(NTIA) of the
United States Department of Commerce The United States Department of Commerce is an executive department The United States federal executive departments are the principal units of the Federal government of the United States, executive branch of the federal government of the U ...
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 the hierarchical and decentralized Decentralization or decentralisation is the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding planning and decision making, are distributed o ...

Domain Name System
(DNS), including policy development for internationalization of the DNS system, introduction of new generic
top-level domain A top-level domain (TLD) is one of the domains at the highest level in the hierarchical Domain Name System The Domain Name System (DNS) is the hierarchical and Decentralised system, decentralized naming system used to identify computers, ...
s (TLDs), and the operation of
root name server A root name server is a name server A name server refers to the server component of the Domain Name System (DNS), one of the two principal namespaces of the Internet The Internet (Capitalization of Internet, or internet) is the glo ...
s. The numbering facilities ICANN manages include the
Internet Protocol The Internet Protocol (IP) is the network layer In the seven-layer OSI model The Open Systems Interconnection model (OSI model) is a conceptual model A conceptual model is a representation of a system, made of the composition of concept C ...
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 A communication protocol is a system of rules that allows two or more entities of a ...

IPv4
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 ...

IPv6
, 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 September 30, 1998, incorporated in the U.S. state of California. Originally headquartered in
Marina del Rey Marina del Rey is an unincorporated seaside community in Los Angeles County, California, with an eponymous harbor that is a major boating and water recreation destination of the greater Los Angeles area. The port is North America's largest man ...

Marina del Rey
in the same building as the
University of Southern California , mottoeng = "Let whoever earns the palm bear it" , religious_affiliation = Nonsectarian - Methodist Methodism, also called the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related denominations Denomination may refer to: * Religious de ...

University of Southern California
'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 techn ...
(ISI), its offices are now in the
Playa Vista Playa Vista is a neighborhoods of 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 from 1941 to 1985 and ...
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 Syst ...
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 A computer scientist is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, mora ...

Jon Postel
, 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-switching network with distributed control and one of the first networks to implement the Internet protocol suite, TCP/IP protocol suite. Both technologies ...
, first at
UCLA The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organ ...
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 The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an executive branch department of the federal government charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government directly related to national secur ...
, 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 The United States Department of Commerce is an executive department of the U.S. federal government concerned w ...
(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 the hierarchical and decentralized Decentralization or decentralisation is the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding planning and decision making, are distributed or ...

DNS
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 An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label such as that is connected to a computer network A computer ne ...
(IANA) under contract to the
United States Department of Commerce The United States Department of Commerce is an executive department The United States federal executive departments are the principal units of the Federal government of the United States, executive branch of the federal government of the U ...
(DOC) and pursuant to an agreement with the
IETF The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization, which develops and promotes voluntary Internet standards, in particular the technical standards that comprise the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It has no formal ...
. ICANN was incorporated in California on September 30, 1998, with entrepreneur and philanthropist
Esther Dyson Esther Dyson (born 14 July 1951) is a Swiss-born American investor, journalist, author, businesswoman, commentator and philanthropist. She is a leading angel investor focused on health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the mainte ...

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 A computer scientist is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, mora ...

Jon Postel
, who was a founder of ICANN and was set to be its first
Chief Technology Officer A chief technical officer (CTO), also known as a chief technology officer or chief technologist, is an executive-level position in a company or other entity whose occupation is focused on the scientific and technological issues within an organiza ...
prior to his unexpected death. ICANN formerly operated from the same
Marina del Rey Marina del Rey is an unincorporated seaside community in Los Angeles County, California, with an eponymous harbor that is a major boating and water recreation destination of the greater Los Angeles area. The port is North America's largest man ...

Marina del Rey
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 techn ...
at the
University of Southern California , mottoeng = "Let whoever earns the palm bear it" , religious_affiliation = Nonsectarian - Methodist Methodism, also called the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related denominations Denomination may refer to: * Religious de ...

University of Southern California
. However, ICANN's headquarters is now located in the nearby
Playa Vista Playa Vista is a neighborhoods of 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 from 1941 to 1985 and ...
neighborhood of
Los Angeles Los Angeles ( ; xgf, Tovaangar; es, Los Ángeles, , ), commonly referred to by the initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be u ...
. Per its original
by-law A by-law (bye-law, by(e)law, by(e) law) is a rule or law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and in ...
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 an open standards organization, which develops and promotes voluntary Internet standards, in particular the technical standards that comprise the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It has no formal ...
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 Syst ...
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 A memorandum of understanding (MoU) is a type of agreement between two (bilateralism, bilateral) or more (multilateralism, multilateral) parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action ...
with the
United States Department of Commerce The United States Department of Commerce is an executive department The United States federal executive departments are the principal units of the Federal government of the United States, executive branch of the federal government of the U ...
(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 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 na ...
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 Syst ...
and . 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 Multistakeholder governance is a practice of governance that employs bringing multiple stakeholders together to participate in dialogue, decision making, and implementation of responses to jointly perceived problems. The principle behind such a st ...
,"US Government finally lets ICANN go"
Eileen Yu,
ZDNet ZDNet is a business technology news website An online newspaper (or electronic news or electronic news publication) is the online In computer technology and telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by var ...
, 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 Karl George Auerbach (born December 27, 1949 in Los Angeles, California) is a California attorney and internet protocol engineer who made many significant contributions to the development of the Internet, Internet governance and the commercializat ...
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 '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 The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organi ...
, 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 domains at the highest level in the hierarchical Domain Name System The Domain Name System (DNS) is the hierarchical and Decentralised system, decentralized naming system used to identify computers, ...
s, charges to domain registries, and a fee for some domain name registrations, renewals and transfers (initially USD 0.20 for all domains within a country-code top-level domain, and USD 0.25 for all others). The
Council of European National Top Level Domain Registries The Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries (CENTR) is the association of European Internet ccTLD, country code top-level domain domain name registry, registries, such as .de for Germany or .si for Slovenia. CENTR currently counts ...
(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 The United States House of Representatives is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house. Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legis ...
' Small Business Committee. During February 2007, ICANN began procedures to end accreditation of one of their registrars,
RegisterFly RegisterFly was a New Jersey New Jersey is a in the and regions of the . It is bordered on the north and east by the state of ; on the east, southeast, and south by the ; on the west by the and ; on the southwest by and the state of ...
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 KnujOn ("no junk" spelled backwards, and pronounced "new john") was a project involved in Internet security. KnujOn targeted spam Spam may refer to: * Spam (food) Spam (stylized as SPAM) is a brand of canned cooked pork made by Hormel Foods C ...
, 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) Spam (stylized as SPAM) is a brand of canning, canned cooked pork made by Hormel Foods Corporation. It was introduced by Hormel in 1937 and gained popularity worldwide after its use during World War II. By 2003 ...
" 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 and governance, is equated with answerability, blameworthiness, legal liability, liability, and the expectation of account-giving. As in an aspect of governance, it has been central to discussions related to probl ...

accountability
, transparency, and public participation by the
Berkman Center for Internet and Society The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society is a research center at Harvard University Harvard University is a Private university, private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Established in 1636 and named for its ...
at
Harvard University Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly t ...

Harvard University
. 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 domain Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are one of the categories of 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. T ...
s (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 The Montevideo Statement on the Future of Internet Cooperation was released on 7 October 2013 by the leaders of a number of organizations involved in coordinating the Internet's global technical infrastructure. The statement was signed by the head ...
,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 political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
's
General Data Protection Regulation The General Data Protection Regulation (EU2016/679(GDPR) is a regulation Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory, these types of rules exist in various fields of biology and so ...
(active since May 25, 2018) impacted on ICANN operations, which the latter tried to fix through last-minute changes. The deadline coincided with French President Macron's hosting of technology businesspeople such as Facebook CEO
Mark Zuckerberg Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (; born ) is an American media magnate, internet entrepreneur, and philanthropist Philanthropy consists of "private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life Quality of life (QOL) is defined ...
, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Samsung President Young Sohn, and SAP CEO
Bill McDermott William R. McDermott (born August 18, 1961) is an American businessman and is currently CEO of ServiceNow. Before ServiceNow, he was the CEO of the technology company SAP SE. During his tenure as co-CEO and CEO, SAP's market value increased from $ ...
.


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 domain Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are one of the categories of 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. T ...
s (gTLDs); the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) deals with policy making on
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 two ...
s (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 or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian ...
,
Cook Islands ) , image_map = Cook Islands on the globe (small islands magnified) (Polynesia centered).svg , capital = Avarua , coordinates = , largest_city = Avarua , official_languages = , languages_type = Spoken languages , languages = , ethn ...
,
Niue Niue ( or ; niu, Niuē) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people wh ...

Niue
,
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...
,
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Pe ...

Hong Kong
,
Bermuda ) , anthem = "God Save the Queen "God Save the Queen", alternatively "God Save the King" (dependent on the gender of the reigning monarch), is the or in most s, their territories, and the British . The author of the tune is unknown, ...

Bermuda
,
Montserrat Montserrat ( ) is a British Overseas Territory The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen dependent territory, territories all with a constitutional and historical lin ...

Montserrat
, the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. The executive executes a ...

European Commission
and the
African Union Commission The Commission of the African Union acts as the executive/administrative branch or secretariat of the AU (and is somewhat analogous to the European Commission). It consists of a number of Commissioners dealing with different areas of policy. Th ...
.


Observers

In addition the following organizations are GAC Observers: *
African Telecommunications UnionThe African Telecommunications Union (ATU) is an organization in Africa that combines countries and mobile telecommunications providers in an attempt to dramatically increase development of the continent's information and communication technology (IC ...
*
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 (ITU). The APT was established by ...
* Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) *
Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) traces to the British Empire's Pacific Cable Board in 1901, though in its current form, was created by international treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between ...
(CTO) *
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field of international relations, international aff ...

Council of Europe
*
Economic Commission for Africa The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA or ECA; french: link=no, Commission économique pour l'Afrique, CEA) was established in 1958 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council The United Nations Economic and Social Cou ...

Economic Commission for Africa
(ECA) *
European Broadcasting Union The European Broadcasting Union (EBU; french: Union européenne de radio-télévision, UER) is an alliance of public service media organisations, established on 12 February 1950. The organisation is made up of 115 member organisations in 56 c ...
*
European Organization for Nuclear Research The European Organization for Nuclear Research (french: Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire), known as CERN (; ; derived from the name ), is a Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large la ...
(CERN) *
European Space Agency , owner = , headquarters = Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area ...

European Space Agency
*
International Labour Office The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations am ...
*
International Telecommunication Union The International Telecommunication Union is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for all matters related to information and communications technology, information and co ...

International Telecommunication Union
(ITU) *
International Criminal Police Organization The International Criminal Police Organization (official abbreviation ICPO; french: link=no, Organisation internationale de police criminelle), commonly known as INTERPOL ( , ), is an international organization ''International Organization' ...
(INTERPOL) *
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian Humanitarianism is an active belief in the value of human life, whereby human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread specie ...
* Latin American Association of Telecom Regulatory Agencies (REGULATEL) *
League of Arab States League or The League may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media *''A League of Their Own ''A League of Their Own'' is a 1992 American sports film, sports Comedy-drama, comedy-drama film that tells a fictionalized account of the real-life A ...

League of Arab States
*
New Partnership for Africa's Development The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) is an economic development In the economic study of the public sector, economic and social development is the process by which the economic well-being Well-being, also known as ''welln ...
(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 economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to st ...

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
* 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 An international organi ...

Organization of American States
*
Organisation internationale de la Francophonie The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF; sometimes shortened to the Francophonie, french: La Francophonie , but also called International Organisation of La Francophonie in English-language context) is an international organiza ...
(OIF) *
Pacific Islands Forum The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) is an inter-governmental In international relations International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international studies (IS) is the scientific study of interactions between sovereign sta ...

Pacific Islands Forum
* Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) *
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(CITEL) *
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International Criminal Court
*
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an ...
(UNESCO) *
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*
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*
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each other through the co-ordinating machinery of the Unit ...
(WHO) *
World Intellectual Property Organization The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO; french: Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI)) is one of the list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations (UN). Pu ...
(WIPO) *
World Meteorological Organization The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims ...
*
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through ...


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) is a suite of extension specifications by the Internet Engineering Task Force The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization, which develops and promotes volu ...
management of the root zone. While day to day operations are managed by ICANN and , 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 A memorandum of understanding (MoU) is a type of agreement between two (bilateral Bilateral may refer to any concept including two sides, in particular: *Bilateria, bilateral animals *Bilateralism, the political and cultural relations between ...
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 Task may refer to: * Task (project management), an activity that needs to be accomplished within a defined period of time or by a deadline * Task (computing), in computi ...
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 Freedom of information legislation, 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 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 domain Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are one of the categories of 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. T ...
s (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: Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI)) is one of the list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations (UN). Pu ...
(WIPO), and the result has now become known as the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy, 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 to the United States Constitution, 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, 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 argued that ICANN's relationship with the U.S. Department of Commerce is illegal, in violation of either the United States Constitution, Constitution or United States Code, 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. The Internet governance, governance of the Internet by the United States government has been suggested by some scholars as being an example of colonialism and imperialism, and 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), 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 stated ICANN had long failed to provide safeguards that protect consumers from online Charlatan, swindlers.


TLD expansion

Also during 2011, seventy-nine companies, including The Coca-Cola Company, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung 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. 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 The Montevideo Statement on the Future of Internet Cooperation was released on 7 October 2013 by the leaders of a number of organizations involved in coordinating the Internet's global technical infrastructure. The statement was signed by the head ...
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 PRISM (surveillance program), 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 Architecture Board The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is "a committee of the Internet Engineering Task Force The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organi ...
, the World Wide Web Consortium, the Internet Society, and the five regional Internet registry, 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 global surveillance disclosures, 2013 disclosures of mass surveillance by the U.S. government, and President 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 Internet Governance Forum#IGF VIII — Bali, Indonesia 2013, IGF VIII meeting in Bali in October 2013 a commenter noted that Brazil intends the meeting to be a "Summit (meeting), summit" 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 Presidency of Barack Obama, Obama administration 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 Commerce Department, United States Department of Commerce 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 (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, 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 (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 (registry), .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 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".


.amazon gTLD dispute

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


See also

* Alternative DNS root * Domain name scams *
Domain Name System The Domain Name System (DNS) is the hierarchical and decentralized Decentralization or decentralisation is the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding planning and decision making, are distributed o ...

Domain Name System
** Domain name ** Domain name registrar ** Internationalized domain name ** Top-level domain *** Country code top-level domain *** Generic top-level domain *** GeoTLD, 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 An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label such as that is connected to a computer network A computer ne ...
(IANA) * InterNIC * 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


References


Further reading

* Brito, Jerry.
ICANN vs. the World
" ''TIME (magazine), TIME''. 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