The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority is charged with the responsibility of coordinating key elements in order to keep the Internet and it functions running smoothly. According to IANA’s website, “Whilst the Internet is renowned for being a worldwide network free from central coordination, there is a technical need for some key parts of the Internet to be globally coordinated – and this coordination role is undertaken by IANA.”
“IANA is one of the Internet's oldest institutions, with its activities dating back to the 1970s. Today it is operated by The Internet Corporation for Assinged Names and Numbers, an internationally-organized non-profit organization set up by the Internet community to help coordinate IANA's areas of responsibilities.”
“IANA aims not to directly set policy by which it operates, instead implementing agreed policies and principles in a neutral and responsible manner. Using the policy setting forums provided by ICANN, policy development for domain name operations and IP addressing is arrived at by many different stakeholders. ICANN has a structure of supporting organisations that contribute to deciding how ICANN runs, and in turn how IANA develops. The development of Internet protocols, which often dictate how protocol assignments should be managed, are arrived at within the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Engineering Steering Group, and the Internet Architecture Board.”“To improve its operations, IANA is actively involved in outreach too. As well as in ICANN forums, IANA participates in meetings and discussions with TLD operators, Regional Internet Registries, and other relevant communities. The Authority provides a manned helpdesk at IETF meetings to allow one-to-one interaction with its largest community of users – protocol developers."
“The RIPE NCC is an independent, not-for-profit membership organization that supports the infrastructure of the Internet through technical co-ordination in its service region. The most prominent activity of the RIPE NCC is to act as the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) providing global Internet resources and related services (IPv4, IPv6 and AS Number resources) to members in the RIPE NCC service region. The membership consists mainly of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), telecommunication organizations and large corporations located in Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia.”
“RIPE (Réseaux IP Européens) is a collaborative forum existing since November 1989 and open to all parties interested in wide area IP networks. Work is carried out by individual volunteers in their own or their organization’s time.”
“It was realized that not all activities could be carried out by volunteers, especially those needing continuity and constant availability. Therefore there was a need for the 'RIPE NCC' (Network Coordination Centre) to perform these coordinating tasks.”A document describing the RIPE NCC was first published in September 1990, and the first activity plan was published in May 1991. RIPE asked RARE (one of the predecessors of TERENA) if they would provide the legal framework for the RIPE NCC. After a solicitation procedure, the RIPE NCC began in April 1992 with its headquarters in Amsterdam, Daniel Karrenberg as manager and only two other staff members. Initial funding was provided by the academic networks (RARE members), EARN and EUnet. It was an important development for European networking that the RIPE NCC succeeded in its first nine months of operations to become a true Regional Internet Registry. Its task was to support all those activities that could not be effectively performed by volunteers from the organizations participating in RIPE.
The NRO number council performs various duties associated with the Address Supporting Organization Address Council (ASO AC). This change came about after the Regional Internet registries signed an agreement with ICANN in October 2004. The primary function of the Regional Internet Registries is the formalization, through a co-operative effort, the (1) protection of unallocated number resources, (2) the promotion and protection of the bottom-up policy development process and (3) to act as a point of contact for the internet community for input into the RIR system.
Voting members for the NRO Number Council come from the regional registries. According to the website, “the voting scheme for the NRO NC is similar to the former voting scheme used for the ASO AC, where two members are selected by the regional policy forum of each of the RIRs. The only difference is that for the NRO NC, the Executive Board of each RIR also appoints one person from its respective region.” With regard to processes, the information society has offered a proposal that could dramatically change the management of Internet Number Resources. “The most prominent activity of the four Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) is the provision of global Internet resources and related services (IPv4, IPv6 and AS Number resources) and the management of reverse domain space.”“On 21 October 2004, the Director of ITU-TSB published a memorandum, "ITU and Internet Governance" for public comment. This memorandum includes a proposal to create a new IPv6 address space distribution process, based solely on national authorities. This could have a serious impact on Internet operators and the global Internet community at large.”
“The Address Supporting Organization (ASO) is one of the supporting organizations that the ICANN Bylaws say should be "formed through community consensus". The purpose of the ASO is to review and develop recommendations on Internet Protocol (IP) address policy and to advise the ICANN Board. In July 1999, the three existing Regional Internet Registries (APNIC, ARIN, and RIPE NCC) submitted a proposal to form the ASO on the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding. ICANN accepted this proposal on 26 August, 1999."
The following is an abstract concerning the functions of the ASO, “Each of the Regional Internet Registries appoints three members of the ASO Address Council. Two members are selected by the regional policy forum of each of the RIRs and one member is appointed from the Executive Board of each RIR. The purpose of the AC is to oversee recommendations on IP address policy. This will include the management of policy development activities. The other major aspect of the role of the Address Council is the appointment of Directors to the ICANN Board of Directors.”“The ASO was formed on 19 October 1999, when the MoU was signed by representatives of APNIC, ARIN, and RIPE NCC and ICANN. This happened during the ARIN Open Policy Meeting in Denver, USA. LACNIC signed the MoU in 30 October 2002 following its official recognition as an RIR. A new Memorandum of Understanding between ICANN and the Number Resource Organization, on behalf of the Regional Internet Registries, was signed on 21 October 2004 at ARIN XIV in Reston, Virginia. Upon recognition by ICANN as a Regional Internet Registry, AfriNIC signed an MoU with the NRO on 24 April 2005 to become the NRO’s 5th member.”
Established in December 1997, the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) is a Regional Internet Registry (RIR) incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia, USA. ARIN is one of five (5) RIRs.
The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) is a regional Internet registry that oversees Internet number registration in the Americas. According to the website, ARIN is concerned with “ Applying the principles of stewardship, ARIN, A nonprofit corporation, allocates Internet protocol resources; develops consensus-based policies; and facilitates the advancement of the Internet through information and educational outreach.”
ARIN provides information on registration services, various policies, meetings, membership and information on the other regional Internet registries. Current and annual reports can be found archived in ARIN’s website. Registration Services pertain to the technical coordination and management of Internet number resources. Organization Services pertain to interaction between ARIN members and stakeholders and ARIN. Policy Development Services facilitate the development of policy for the technical coordination and management of Internet number resources in the ARIN region.ARIN’s Structure is as follows, “ARIN is a nonprofit service organization that is responsive to the needs of the public it serves. Stakeholders in the community drive policies and activities, thus enabling ARIN to keep in step with their requirements. The organizational structure of ARIN is comprised of a 7-member Board of Trustees, a 15-member Advisory Council, and a professional staff of nearly 50. The Board of Trustees and Advisory Council are elected by ARIN members for three-year terms.”
The primary function of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is to develop intellectual property systems (IPS). According to the website, “The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system, which rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest. WIPO was established by the WIPO Convention in 1967 with a mandate from its Member States to promote the protection of IP throughout the world through cooperation among states and in collaboration with other international organizations. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.”
The core business model and strategic direction of the WIPO is to promote a strong IP culture, to integrate IP into development policies, to develop international IP laws, to deliver quality services in global IP protection systems and to increase the use and efficiency of WIPO’s management and support processes.WIPO is organized by committees, assemblies and other decision-making bodies and currently has 184 member states. These member states are primarily concerned with the administration of IP policy. According to the website, “Intellectual property is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs.”
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit organization designed to manage both Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and Domain Names. Previously, on behalf of other institutions, the U.S. Government oversaw this task prior to 1998. ICANN’s role in the control over this central function of the Internet has lead to much opposition by competing groups seeking control of both Domain Names and IP addresses. Under the direction of the California Nonprofit Public Benefit Law, ICANN is organized under a board of directors composed of six representatives from the following organizations: The Generic Names Supporting Organization, The Country Code Names Supporting Organization and The Address Supporting Organization.
ICANN’s website offers a very comprehensive source of information drawn from different news media outlets. Current news can be found under several tabs including ‘News’, ‘Current Topics’, ‘Events’ and ‘Resources’. Newsletters as well as Blogs can be accessed to learn more about ICANN. ICANN’s structure is detailed under the ‘structure’ tab and provides valuable insight into corporate governance. ICANN’s internal processes and current workload can be viewed under the ‘processes’ tab and provides information ranging from accountability and transparency to management and operating principles. ICANN’s website also allows users to access a range of corporate documents from the articles of incorporation to the minutes from various board meetings.
The World Bank provides financial assistance and aid to developing countries. Financing from the World Bank aids developing countries with funds to develop the IT communications infrastructure of these countries.
According to the World Bank, “The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. We are not a bank in the common sense. We are made up of two unique development institutions owned by 185 member countries—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Each institution plays a different but supportive role in our mission of global poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards. The IBRD focuses on middle income and creditworthy poor countries, while IDA focuses on the poorest countries in the world. Together we provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, communications and many other purposes.”
There are several institutions that are closely related to the affairs of the World Bank. Among these institutions are the International Development Association, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).According to the Website, “The World Bank is like a cooperative, where its 185 member countries are shareholders. The shareholders are represented by a Board of Governors, who are the ultimate policy makers at the World Bank. Generally, the governors are member countries' ministers of finance or ministers of development. They meet once a year at the Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the Group and the International Monetary Fund.”
According to the website, “ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technologies. As the global focal point for governments and the private sector, ITU's role in helping the world communicate spans 3 core sectors: radiocommunication, standardization and development. ITU also organizes TELECOM events and was the lead organizing agency of the World Summit on the Information Society. ITU is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and its membership includes 191 Member States and more than 700 Sector Members and Associates.”
ITU’s website profiles not only the company, but current news, events publications and other issues specific to telecommunications. ITU’s role in the global arena is important with regard to the internet and the control of domain names and IP addresses. Many of the activities that ITU focuses on range from cyber security to emergency telecommunications.
ITU’s mission is, “to enable the growth and sustained development of telecommunications and information networks, and to facilitate universal access so that people everywhere can participate in, and benefit from, the emerging information society and global economy. The ability to communicate freely is a pre-requisite for a more equitable, prosperous and peaceful world. And ITU assists in mobilizing the technical, financial and human resources needed to make this vision a reality.”“A key priority lies in bridging the so called Digital Divide by building information and communication infrastructure, promoting adequate capacity building and developing confidence in the use of cyberspace through enhanced online security. Achieving cybersecurity and cyberpeace are amongst the most critical concerns of the information age, and ITU is taking concrete measures through its landmark Global Cybersecurity Agenda.”
This article talks in great detail about the U.S. Government agreeing to give control over the internet to a non-profit: ICANN. While IP addresses and Domain Names will be handled by the non-profit, the U.S. Government decided to retain control of the net’s root zone file. According to the article, “The historic role that we announced that we were going to preserve is fairly clearly articulated: the technical verification and authorization of changes to the authoritative root.
Even though the U.S. Government has given up control, they still remain a large presence within ICANN including the selection of panel and board members. Currently all 11 panel members spoke English as their primary language. The article continues to talk about how there is an apparent lack of global presence felt with the handling of the IP addresses and Domain Names by ICANN.
The article continues, “While talk centered on the future of the Internet and its tremendous global influence, the people that sat there discussing it represented only a tiny minority of those that now use the Internet every day. Reflections on the difficulty of expanding the current Internet governance mechanisms to encompass the global audience inadvertently highlighted the very parochialism of those that currently form the ICANN in-crowd.”
The article closes by presenting several problems concerning the lack of global representation by ICANN. Ultimately, what came out of a gathering of the (English-speaking) great and the good regarding the Internet were two things (McCarthy):
That the US government recognizes it has to transition its role if it wants to keep the Internet in one piece (and it then has to sell that decision to a mindlessly patriotic electorate)