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History of ICANN

History of the ICANN

The History of the ICANN starts in the 90’s as it was created on September 18, 1998, and incorporated on September 30, 1998 in the State of California. It is headquartered in the Playa Vista section of Los Angeles, California. On September 29, 2006, ICANN signed a new agreement with the United States Department of Commerce (DOC) that moves the organization further towards a solely multistakeholder governance model.

On October 1, 2009 the U.S. Department of Commerce gave up its control of ICANN, completing ICANN’s transition.

Before the establishment of ICANN, the IANA function of administering registries of Internet protocol identifiers (including the distributing top-level domains and IP addresses) was performed by Jon Postel, a Computer Science researcher who had been involved in the creation of ARPANET, first at UCLA and then at the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute (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, 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 take over the IANA functions. On January 30, 1998, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (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 robust competition and facilitates global participation in Internet management. The Green Paper proposed for discussion a variety of issues relating to 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 manages the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) under contract to the United States Department of Commerce (DOC) and pursuant to an agreement with the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force).

ICANN was incorporated in California on September 30, 1998, with entrepreneur and philanthropist Esther Dyson as founding chairwoman. It is qualified to do business in the District of Columbia. ICANN was established in California due to the presence of Jon Postel, who was a founder of ICANN and was set to be its first CTO prior to his unexpected death. ICANN formerly operated from the same Marina del Rey building where Postel formerly worked, which is home to an office of the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California. However, ICANN’s headquarters is now located in the nearby Playa Vista section of Los Angeles.

Per its original Bylaws, 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 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. On 4 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 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 with the United States Department of Commerce (DOC). This document does give the DoC a final, unilateral oversight over some of the ICANN operations.

ICANN techno background

In July 2008, the U.S. Department of Commerce reiterated an earlier statement that it has “no plans to transition management of the authoritative root zone file to ICANN”. The letter also stresses the separate roles of the IANA and VeriSign.

On October 1, 2009 the U.S. Department of Commerce gave up its control of ICANN.

Initial members of the ICANN board were chosen by the late Dr. Jonathon Postel, who headed IANA. IANA derived its authority under a contract from the U.S. government which financed the original research network, Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, from which the Internet grew.

The need to internationalize the governing of the Internet (among other concerns) led the U.S. government to recommend the origin of ICANN as a global, government-independent entity to manage the systems and protocols that keep the Internet going. The U.S. government is essentially turning over control of the Internet to ICANN although domain name registration performed by Network Solutions, Inc. will continue to be under U.S. government contract for a limited time.

ICANN has a board of nineteen Directors, nine At-Large Directors, nine to be nominated by Supporting Organizations, and the President/CEO (ex officio). The nine At-Large Directors of the Initial Board are serving one-year terms and will be succeeded by At-Large Directors elected by an at-large membership organization. You can find a more in depth reference about what is the ICANN in this article here. You may also find vital information ICANN’S corporate website.

It's a Social Media and Digital Marketing consultant, owner and founder of LFStudio. He is also author and entrepreneur. He helps small businesses to get clients online, generate income and grow.

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