ICANN is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Name and Numbers, non-profit, public-benefit corporation. In this post, I will touch upon a few attributes of ICANN that has been of interest to me lately.
The organization has a wealth of different opinions and perspectives all of the greater good to help move the multi-stakeholder system forward.
Göran Marby is the President and CEO of ICANN. The organizations headquarters is located in the Playa Vista neighborhood of California. The group was created in 1998 to help move the domain name system that holds all the names and all the addresses together on the Internet globally.
The institution was meant to transfer the responsibility from the United States Government into a multi-stakeholder nonprofit organization. The JPA (Joint Project Agreement) was set up to assist that transfer and to make sure that transfer was successful.
What Does ICANN Do?
The institution is a global coordinator of the Internet Domain Name System, and that includes all domain names, all Internet Addresses, and protocol and parameter registries.
The organization is an international consensus-driven organization that uses a bottom-up policy development process to develop their procedures globally. The group's commitment is to have a globally unified stable and secure Internet. They work with all of the different operators around the world.
The organization is evolving and growing with the Internet; the ICANN community drives them, they have many different stakeholder groups such as the ISPs, Country Code Operators, Governments that have formed the Governmental Advisory Committees, Civil Society, Non-Profits and all kinds of various business groups.
The policy development process initiative works through the community through its three supporting organizations.
Then there are four different advisory groups:
1.) GAC - Governmental Advisory Committee
2.) ALAC - At-Large Advisory Committee
3.) SSAC - Security & Stability Advisory Committee
4.) RSSAC - Root Server System Advisory Committee
Policies are done through the organizations and community processes.
The organization wants to make sure that the community continues to steer the domain name system, policy and procedures and coordinate as much operations as possible so there isn’t a broadening of the role of one government in place of the others.
Board of Directors
The groups board of directors handle numerous task to facilitate the intricate interconnections of the internet.
Göran Marby - President and CEO
Charine Chalaby - Chair
Chris Disspain - Vice Chair
Ron da Silva
Rafael Lito Ibarra
Léon Felipe Sanchez Ambia
Lousewies van der Laan
Core Values Include the following:
Preserve and enhance the operational stability, reliability, security, and global interoperability of the Internet.
Respect the creativity and innovation made possible by the Internet by limiting ICANN’s activities to those matters within ICANN’s mission requiring or significantly benefiting from global coordination.
To the extent feasible, delegate coordination functions to responsible entities that reflect the interests of affected parties.
Promote international participation at all levels of decision-making and policy-making.
Seek broad, informed participation reflecting the functional and geographic diversity of the Internet.
Introduce and promote competition in the registration of domain names where practicable and beneficial.
Where feasible, depending on market mechanisms to promote and sustain a competitive environment.
Employ open and transparent policy-making mechanisms that promote well-informed, technically sound decisions.
Make allocation and assignment decisions by applying documented policies neutrally and objectively.
Act with a speed that is responsive to the needs of the Internet but obtains informed input from those most affected as part of the decision-making process.
Remain accountable to the Internet community through mechanisms that enhance ICANN’s effectiveness.
While remaining rooted in the private sector, act with sensitivity to governmental concerns for the public interest so that the need for direct governmental action is minimized.
Coordinating the Internet Is a Big Part of the Role of ICANN
The organization does numerous things and to better understand their role there are a few terms that you should follow:
The Domain Name System
Parameter Protocol Registries
Domain Names - There are roughly 330.6 million domain names in the world. Those domain names connected by the top level root of the Internet, which is the listings of all the top-level domain names like (.eu, .de, .com or .net)
That root file set links the Internet together globally. The organization is the body that governs that root effectively and provides those updates based on the rules and policies developed by the community.
Moreover, the groups role is being the policy body to determine how new delegations to the root are established and the rules of that engagement. In some cases, they are the contracting body. So for the generic top-level domains like (.com, .net or .org) ICANN has a contract.
Internet Addresses - They have two types of addresses. Old addresses and new addresses.
IPv4 Internet Protocol Version 4 (Old Addresses)
IPv6 Internet Protocol Version 6 (New Addresses)
The organization is the coordination body and the central allocator of those according to the policies established in Internet Addressing.
Addresses are used by different devices all over the Internet, and that usage is growing. The group is like the coordinators for the district nation of Internet Addresses.
The regional Internet registries develop most of the policies, and they have a policy process, and then some of the policies go up to ICANN when they need the procedures to be global.
Domain Name System - You use a device when you use your browser on the Internet. Any address that you type in has to get converted to a Network Address. Devices don’t talk by names, they just have these long numbers that are addresses, and that is the only way that they speak to one another.
A name is like your name, and the address is like a street address the computer has to have the address to communicate. The system that converts the domain name to the address is the domain name system.
There are a lot of different pieces of software that makes this system work. All the software does is convert domain names to network addresses, so that when you send an email, it gets to that one person somewhere in the world.
Parameter and Protocol Registries - This is the parameter settings for computers and networks. ICANN doesn’t create this it is formed at the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) IETF comes up with the parameters and develops the standards for the Internet technically, but ICANN is the designated publisher. ICANN publish this as a public service which helps hold the Internet together because all the network devices need to know what parameters to be set at so that they can talk to each other.
There Are Foundational Documents That Shape ICANN
1.) The Bylaws that were developed with the community in a process that the US Government helped to coordinate, but approved by the community.
2.) IANA is the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority - They are part of ICANN's responsibility for Internet Protocol and performing technical services such as coordinating global IP addressing, symbols, media-type, numbering and DNS root zone management.
What Does the Organization Manage?
The group manages TLDs top-level domains such as .com, .net, .org and a host of many other top level domain names.
The group has contracts with domain registrars such as Enom and GoDaddy to oversee the registration of domain names and to also give accreditation to these registrars in which the registrars will meet or exceed the requirements and guidelines set by the non-profit organization
The group searches through registered domain names to ensure that the domain name has not been purchased by anyone else.
New Generic Top Level Domains
As you can see, the organization does numerous things to help globalize the Internet, and one of their latest innovating tactics was open up the Internet domain name system, and that was done through the New Generic Top Level Domains or NGTLD. I'm sure that you've seen these extensions around the Internet like .vegas, .club, .xyz. ICANN opened the NGTLDs on June 20th, 2011.
The competition that offering these new choices offer should help accomplish the mission of creating more consumer choice and competition in the global marketplace.
One of the attributes is to embrace the NGTLD around the world so that this is a significant step in globalizing the Internet and providing equal access to users over the world as a whole.
As you may know, having an online presence is very important in our society. We can stay connected with friends, family co-workers through the makings of the Internet. Domain names are very crucial for the online presence of many businesses.
All in all, you can’t register your domain name without seeing some reference made to ICANN. The group has the responsibility of supervising the domain name system so that we as users of the Internet can conduct our business whether professional or personal in an organized order which allows all of us to stay connected with the world.
What are your thoughts on ICANN?