Formed in 1998, ICANN is a not-for-profit organization comprising of professionals, organizations, and scientific bodies whose primary duty is to safeguard internet and make it operable globally while allowing competition and promoting stability for the internet users worldwide. In short, it is possible to think of ICANN as a “watchman” over the internet to guarantee its safety and efficiency.
Major ICANN Responsibilities
In addition to the ICANN’s primary duties described above, outlined below are other significant responsibilities undertaken by ICANN globally to make internet accessible and efficient for everyone:
- ICANN and Domain Name System (DNS): ICANN regulates the Registrars by drawing contracts with the registries and offering an accreditation system to them. Though, each registrar is free to sell their domains at the prices they desired; however, they must return a set fee per domain to the registry under which the domain was registered. Indirectly, through its contracts with the registries, ICANN provides a perpetually stable environment for the domain name system. It does this by making sure that a website with the same domain name is not sold to two people at the same time. And that people browsing the internet can quickly find the websites they are looking for, because they have unique Domain Names (DNs).
- ICANN and Internet Protocol (IP) address: Similarly, ICANN ensures that the IP address assigned to each domain name is recognizable by the computers and other devices. And since no two domain names or websites can have the same IP address, this streamlines the entire internet usage. It worth stating that ICANN itself does not issue a domain name or a website’s IP address, but it helps prevent clashes or confusion of having the same IP address issued to the same website.
- ICANN and Root Servers: There are basically 13 root servers all over the world or 13 main sources of IP addresses. Even though the operators of IP addresses are autonomous or independent, they collaborate with ICANN and one another to ensure that internet remains updated as new technologies or advancements are recorded in the field.
- Universal resolvability: The best way to summarize ICANN’s duties is that the organization facilitates universal resolvability, making it possible for networks of computers on the internet worldwide to seamlessly connect with one another. When a query is sent from one computer, the influence of ICANN on DNS and IP addresses makes it possible for the query to be resolved quickly, because there have already been some stability and interconnectivity system in place, maintained by ICANN.
- ICANN’s accountability and neutrality: As a not-for-profit organization, ICANN is politically neutral, and does not favor one country over the others. It rather concentrates on its primary responsibility of keeping internet effective and fast. When there are new ideas about internet, ICANN’s Board members from around the world deliberate on them to see if they will be useful for making internet great. ICANN’s activities are supported by bylaws, meaning its duties are legal and can be subjected to legal reviews or litigations.