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What is ICANN?

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ICANN (pronounced eye-can) stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Headquartered in Marina Del Rey, an unincorporated area in Los Angeles County, California, United States, ICANN is a California non-profit corporation that was created on September 18, 1998 in order to oversee a number of Internet-related tasks previously performed directly on behalf of the U.S. Government by other organizations, notably the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority IANA.

The tasks of ICANN include responsibility for ‘Internet Protocol’ (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code Top Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions.

More generically, ICANN is responsible for managing the assignment of ‘domain names’ and IP addresses. To date, much of its work has concerned the introduction of new generic top-level domains. The technical work of ICANN is referred to as the IANA function. ICANN’s other primary function involves helping preserve the operational stability of the Internet; to promote competition; to achieve broad representation of global Internet community; and to develop policies appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes.

On September 29, 2006, ICANN signed a new agreement with the United States Department of Commerce (DOC) that is a step forward toward the full management of the Internet’s system of centrally coordinated identifiers through the multi-stakeholder model of consultation that ICANN represents.

Paul Twomey has been the President/CEO of ICANN since March 27, 2003. As of November 3, 2007, Peter Dengate Thrush replaced Vint Cerf as Chairman of the ICANN Board of Directors

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