Short for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a nonprofit organization that has assumed the responsibility for IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management and root server system management functions previously performed under U.S. Government contract.
ICANN was created by the late Jon Postel in the fall of 1998 in response to a policy statement issued by the US Department of Commerce. This statement called for the formation of a private sector not-for-profit Internet stakeholder to administer policy for the Internet name and address system.
Thus far ICANN has taken various measures to oversee the domain-name registration system's transition from government hands to private hands and to coordinate its decentralization and the integration into a global community.
ICANN's diverse board consists of nineteen Directors, nine At-Large Directors, who serve one-year terms and will be succeeded by At-Large Directors elected by an at-large membership organization. None of the present interim directors may sit on the board once the permanent members are selected.