Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
ICANN is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. It is a California non-profit corporation consisting largely of Internet Society Members, and was created on September 18 1998 in order to take over a number of Internet-related tasks previously performed on behalf of the US Government by other organizations, notably IANA.
The contract for ICANN came from the US Department of Commerce and was "sole sourced", which means no-one else (such as the Open Root Server Confederation which was also formed at the time to bid on the contract) was able to submit a bid to perform the task. These tasks include managing the assignment of domain names and IP addresses. To date, much of its work has concerned the introduction of seven new generic top-level domains. Its activities, however, are very controversial.
During this same period, one of the few publicly elected board members, Karl Auerbach , had to sue ICANN in Superior Court in California in order to see accounting records, which were ultimately released to the public in August 2002.
ICANN holds their periodic public meetings for the expressed purpose of staying in touch with its membership. Critics note that the locations of these meetings are often in countries with disproportionally small Internet access and far away from locations that the majority of the Internet-using public can afford to reach, thus making public input or participation less likely. Minutes of the meetings are sometimes kept secret. Supporters reply that ICANN has a worldwide remit and a key part of its mission is to build Internet use where it is weak. Consequently it should minimally hold its meetings in each of the continents in turn. Others criticise ICANN as being too subservient to US interests, given that the Internet is a worldwide resource and its formation was created through contributions from world-wide scientists.
In September and October 2003 ICANN played a crucial role in the conflict over VeriSign and its "wildcard" DNS service Site Finder. After an open letter from ICANN issuing an ultimatum to VeriSign, the company voluntarily shut down the service on October 4 2003. Following this step VeriSign filed a lawsuit against ICANN on February 27 2004, claiming that ICANN had overstepped its authority, seeking through the suit to reduce ambiguity over ICANN's authority. Subject of the claim is not only Site Finder, but also VeriSign's Waiting List Service. The claim was dismissed in August 2004.
On 17 May 2004, ICANN published a proposed budget for the year 2004-05. It included proposals to increase the openness and professionalism of its operations, but almost doubled the proposed expenditure, from US $8.27m to $15.83m. The increase was to be funded by the introduction of new top-level domains, charges to all Domain Registries, and a "tax" on all domain name registrations, renewals and transfers (initially 20c US for all domains within a country-code top-level domain, and 25c for all others). The Council of European National Top Level Domain Registries (CENTR), which represents the Internet registries of 39 countries, has rejected the 91% increase, accusing ICANN of a lack of financial prudence and refusing to support what it sees as ICANN's "unrealistic political and operational targets". However, ICANN ignored the criticism and now the registry agreement for the Top-Level Domains (TLD) .jobs and .travel reveals that it has put a $2 per-transaction charge on every domain the licensed companies sell or renew.
Meanwhile, ICANN is seeking to privatize itself, withdrawing from its connections to the US Government and the US Department of Commerce. Support from these National Top Level Domain internet registries is a missing critical milestone within the committments that ICANN has made to the US Department of Commerce.
- ICANN web-site
- ICANN criticism
- independent ICANN news blog
- Site advocating the return of public representation in ICANN
- Community discussions involving ICANN and Internet Governance
- U.N. Summit to Focus on Internet - Washington Post article about ICANN and the UN's ITU relationship
- ICANN imposes $2 internet tax
- DailyChanges.com - a Free ICANN Registrar Statistics site
- ICANN Litigation
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