The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

18.6.2014 Rezman Mirsom

When was ICANN established, what is its mission and its activities

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN was established on 18 September, 1998 and became an incorporated body the same month. It has its headquarters in Los Angeles, California, USA. The ICANN is a not-for-profit organization responsible for coordinating the global domain name system of the Internet. The ICANN has a specialized department known as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) that manages the DNS Root and the IP address numbering system.

The ICANN’s mission is to help preserve the operational steadiness of the Internet for promoting competition, and achieving wider representation of the global online community. ICANN performs a wide range of activities to achieve all the goals associated with its mission. It addresses the issue of domain name ownership for generic top level domains. This policy was created by ICANN in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization or WIPO. The policy is now referred to as the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

The UDRP makes an attempt at providing a system for fast, affordable and practical solution of any domain name conflicts. It also helps avoid the conventional court system for dispute resolution by enabling cases to be sorted out in front of bodies that can better arbitrate such technical disputes. The ICANN policy requires that a domain registrant agree to the UDRP, because a domain name is not provided without such an agreement to the policy.

One of the notable activities of the ICANN is the proposal for the elimination of the public DNS Whois. The body’s Expert Working Group has provided recommendations for scrapping off Whois and replacing it with a new system where information is kept secret from other Internet users.

The list of permissible purposes for accessing information about new domain name registration include research, sale, purchase, legal actions, regulatory enforcement and mitigation of abuse. However, the organization has not proposed the use of Whois for the free press.

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