a technical coordinating body, ICANN's mandate is not to "run the Internet." Rather,
it is to oversee the management of only those specific technical managerial
and policy development tasks that require central coordination: the
assignment of the Internet's unique name and number identifiers.
Fact Sheet, 2003.
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
manages the domain name system and allocation
of IP addresses.
Up until 1998, the technical
infrastructure of the Internet had been run by US Government agencies, such as
DARPA and the National
Science Foundation. However, as the Internet began to grow into a world wide
resource, the US Government began to look for a way to transfer these administration
to the private sector. To achieve this goal, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding
between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Internet
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers on November 25, 1998.
ICANN describes their goal as being to "preserve the
central coordinating functions of the global Internet for the public good." The
ICANN has responsibility for the assignment of Internet protocol parameters, oversight
of the domain name system, allocation of IP addresses, and management of the root
ICANN is comprised of three Supporting Organizations (SO's):
- The Address Supporting Organization (ASO)
manages the IP address space and its allocation to various organizations. The
ASO is supported by three existing Regional Internet Registries, APNIC,
ARIN, and RIPE
- The Country Code Names Supporting Organization (CCNSO)
is a policy development body responsible for developing consensus positions
and recommending global policies relating to
country-code top-level domain names.
- The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GSO) advises
the ICANN Board with respect to policy issues relating to the Domain Name
Each of these support organizations has the responsibility to name three
Directors to the ICANN Board.
The following committees also support ICANN:
- The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC)
provides advice to ICANN from governments on issues of public
policy, such as where there may be interaction between ICANN's policies
and national laws or international agreements.
- The ICANN
At-Large Advisory Committee
(ALAC) is responsible
for providing advice to ICANN on issues that affect the interests
Internet users -- the "At-Large" community.
The IANA also supports
the ICANN in managing the assignment of Internet protocol parameters required
to enable the Internet
to operate in practice, and is supported by
various organizations including the Internet
Engineering Task Force, World
Wide Web Consortium, International
Telecommunications Union, and European
Telecommunications Standards Institute.
page provides more information on the structure and responsibilities of the organization.
is an independent organization monitoring ICANN activities.