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ICANN - About:

ICANN stands for "The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers". It was founded in 1998. ICANN is a non-profit organization which "(...) helps coordinate the Domain Name System (DNS), often referred to as “the phone book of the Internet” because it matches domain names with appropriate IP address numbers. ICANN also operates part of the DNS, and manages IP addresses and other protocol numbers (...)" {Source}. 

From this ICANN source we read: "(...) To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer—a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn’t have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from around the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. ICANN doesn’t control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and it doesn’t deal with access to the Internet. (...)".

ICANN Responsibilities: "ICANN ensures that the IP address assigned to each domain name is recognizable by the computers and other devices. And since no two domain names or websites can have the same IP address, this streamlines the entire internet usage. It worth stating that ICANN itself does not issue a domain name or a website’s IP address, but it helps prevent clashes or confusion of having the same IP address issued to the same website. (...) There are basically 13 root servers all over the world or 13 main sources of IP addresses. Even though the operators of IP addresses are autonomous or independent, they collaborate with ICANN and one another to ensure that internet remains updated as new technologies or advancements are recorded in the field". - Source

ICANN is also the home of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority or IANA [site:]. Wikipedia states: "ICANN performs the actual technical maintenance work of the Central Internet Address pools and DNS root zone registries pursuant to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). See: More info about IANA.

- See also: What ICANN Does and Doesn't Do

From the Beginner's Guide to Participating in ICANN here are some key points:

How is ICANN organized? 

At the heart of ICANN’s policy-making is what is called a “multistakeholder model.” This decentralized governance model places individuals, industry, non-commercial interests and government on an equal level. Unlike more traditional, top-down governance models, where governments make policy decisions, the multistakeholder approach used by ICANN allows for community-based consensus-driven policy-making. The idea is that Internet governance should mimic the structure of the Internet itself – borderless and open to all. While the ICANN Board of Directors has the ultimate authority to approve or reject policy recommendations, Supporting Organizations (SOs) are responsible for developing and making policy recommendations to the Board. Advisory Committees (ACs) advise the ICANN Board and, in certain cases, can raise issues for policy development. The SO/ACs are described in more detail later in this booklet. ICANN staff is responsible for executing and implementing policies developed by the ICANN community and adopted by the ICANN Board. The ICANN Ombudsman is an independent, impartial and neutral person contracted to ICANN, with jurisdiction over problems and complaints made about decisions, actions or inactions by ICANN, the Board of Directors, or unfair treatment of a community member by ICANN staff, Board or a constituency body. The Nominating Committee is a team of community volunteers responsible for the selection of eight ICANN Board members, and portions of the At-Large Advisory Committee, the Country Code Names Supporting Organization and the Generic Names Supporting Organization.

What Happens at an ICANN Meeting?

ICANN holds three international public meetings each calendar year in different regions of the globe. One meeting each year is also the organization’s annual general meeting, during which new Board members take their seats. Usually comprised of more than 200 different sessions, the week-long meeting is a focal point for individuals and representatives of the different ICANN stakeholders (either attending in-person or participating remotely) to introduce and discuss issues related to ICANN policy. In most cases anyone may speak, but in a few cases you may need to be a member of a particular group. If you are uncertain of the rules during a session, simply ask the session leader if you may speak. Meetings are open to everyone and registration is free, but you are responsible for your own travel and lodging. ICANN offers limited financial assistance to members of its Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees. Also, there is a Fellowship program for selected candidates from developing countries who otherwise could not afford to attend in-person. If you cannot physically attend a meeting, ICANN offers a variety of services to ensure that the power of participation is just a click away. Virtual meeting rooms are available for nearly all sessions with access to meeting materials, a chat room and for larger or general sessions, video and/or audio streaming and live transcription. Learn more at Though English is the main language at ICANN meetings, translation, scribing and interpretation are available at certain sessions. Many documents are made available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish. Each meeting has a dedicated web site with a frequently updated meeting schedule, venue map, information on the local area and social events.

ICANN Board of Directors

An internationally diverse Board of Directors oversees the policy development process and ICANN governance. The Board has 16 voting members and five non-voting liaison representatives. ICANN’s President serves as an ex oficio, voting member of the Board. The Address Supporting Organization (ASO), the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) and the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) each select two voting members of the Board. The At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) in conjunction with the Regional At-Large Organizations (RALOS) selects one voting member. A Nominating Committee selects the remaining eight voting members. Non-voting liaisons to the Board provide technical advice to inform Board decision-making. ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) and Security & Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) each appoint a Board liaison. ICANN’s Technical Liaison Group appoints a liaison to the Board, as does the Internet Engineering Task Force, which is an international and decentralized organization that develops and designs standards for the Internet system. 

What is the role of ICANN’s staff?

ICANN staff is responsible for supporting policy development activities as well as executing and implementing policies developed by the ICANN community and adopted by the ICANN Board of Directors. Also among staff’s responsibilities are IANA function provision, L-Root operations, security and contingency operations, business continuity planning, DNSSEC operations, contractual compliance, IDN Fast Track Program, and the New gTLD Program implementation. ICANN has professional organizational resources such as human resources, project planning, finance, communication and information technology to support its operations. Dedicated staff members support the work done by the Board of Directors, the Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees. In some cases this includes providing Secretariat or support functions, and policy advice development support.

ICANN’s Global Reach

ICANN has offices on three continents and employees working all around the world. Offices are located in Brussels, Belgium; Los Angeles and Silicon Valley, California and Washington DC, United States. -  via: Beginner's Guide to Participating in ICANN.



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