Internet Authorities and Entities
v1.3 r31oct2003 fr20feb2002
by Elf Qrin
W3C - World Wide Web Consortium
In October 1994, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web, founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,Laboratory for Computer Science [MIT/LCS] in collaboration with CERN, where the Web originated, with support from DARPA and the European Commission.
The purpose of the W3C is to lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. W3C has more than 500 Member organizations from around the world and has earned international recognition for its contributions to the growth of the Web.
In April 1995, the INRIA (Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique) became the first European W3C host, followed by Keio University of Japan (Shonan Fujisawa Campus) in Asia in 1996. W3C continues to pursue an international audience through its Offices worldwide.
W3C's long term goals for the Web are:
- Universal Access: To make the Web accessible to all by promoting technologies that take into account the vast differences in culture, education, ability, material resources, and physical limitations of users on all continents;
- Semantic Web : To develop a software environment that permits each user to make the best use of the resources available on the Web;
- Web of Trust : To guide the Web's development with careful consideration for the novel legal, commercial, and social issues raised by this technology.
ISOC - Internet SOCiety
The Internet SOCiety (ISOC) is a professional membership society with more than 150 organizational and 6,000 individual members in over 100 countries. It provides leadership in addressing issues that confront the future of the Internet, and is the organization home for the groups responsible for Internet infrastructure standards, including the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB).
The Society's individual and organization members are bound by a common stake in maintaining the viability and global scaling of the Internet. They comprise the companies, government agencies, and foundations that have created the Internet and its technologies as well as innovative new entrepreneurial organizations contributing to maintain that dynamic.
The Society has been incorporated on December 1992 (but planned since 1989) and is governed by its Board of Trustees elected by its membership around the world.
ICANN - The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
Formed in October 1998, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the non-profit corporation that was formed to assume responsibility for the IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management functions previously performed under U.S. Government contract by IANA and other entities.
It is ICANN's objective to operate as an open, transparent, and consensus-based body that is broadly representative of the diverse stakeholder communities of the global Internet. With a small staff of 14, ICANN is funded through the many registries and registrars that comprise the global domain name and Internet addressing systems.
The Board of ICANN is composed of nineteen volunteer Directors: nine At-Large Directors, nine selected by ICANN's three supporting organizations, and the President/CEO (ex officio). Some of the At-Large Directors are selected according to a vote of Internet users worldwide.
As a technical coordinating body, ICANN's mandate is not to "run the Internet." Rather, it is to oversee the management of only those specific technical managerial and policy development tasks that require central coordination: the assignment of the Internet's unique name and number identifiers.
IANA - Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
IANA is the central coordinator for the assignment of unique parameter values for Internet protocols. The IANA is chartered by the Internet Society (ISOC) to act as the clearinghouse to assign and coordinate the use of numerous Internet protocol parameters. It is dedicated to preserving the central coordinating functions of the global Internet for the public good.
InterNIC - Internet's Network Information Center
InterNIC's website has been established to provide the public information regarding Internet domain name registration services.
ARIN - American Registry for Internet Numbers
ARIN is a non-profit organization established for the purpose of administration and registration of Internet Protocol (IP) numbers for the following geographical areas: North America, South America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa.
RIPE NCC - Réseaux IP Europeéns Network Coordination Centre
RIPE is a non-profit organization established for the purpose of administration and registration of Internet Protocol (IP) numbers for the following geographical areas: Europe, Middle East, Northern Africa.
APNIC - Asian Pacific Network Information Centre
APNIC is a non-profit organization established for the purpose of administration and registration of Internet Protocol (IP) numbers for the following geographical areas: Asia, Pacific.
WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center was established in 1994 to offer arbitration and mediation services for the resolution of international commercial disputes between private parties. Developed by leading experts in cross-border dispute settlement, the procedures offered by the Center are widely recognized as particularly appropriate for technology, entertainment and other disputes involving intellectual property.
IETF - The Internet Engineering Task Force
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. It is open to any interested individual.
The actual technical work of the IETF is done in its working groups, which are organized by topic into several areas (e.g., routing, transport, security, etc.). Much of the work is handled via mailing lists. The IETF holds meetings three times per year.
The IETF working groups are managed by Area Directors, or ADs. The ADs are members of the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).
IESG - The Internet Engineering Steering Group
The IESG is responsible for technical management of IETF activities and the Internet standards process. As part of the ISOC, it administers the process according to the rules and procedures which have been ratified by the ISOC Trustees. The IESG is directly responsible for the actions associated with entry into and movement along the Internet "standards track," including final approval of specifications as Internet Standards.
IAB - Internet Architecture Board
The IAB is responsible for defining the overall architecture of the Internet, providing guidance and broad direction to the IETF. The IAB also serves as the technology advisory group to the Internet Society, and oversees a number of critical activities in support of the Internet.
Its responsibilities include:
- IESG Selection: The IAB appoints a new IETF chair and all other IESG candidates, from a list provided by the IETF nominating committee.
- Architectural Oversight: The IAB provides oversight of the architecture for the protocols and procedures used by the Internet.
- Standards Process Oversight and Appeal: The IAB provides oversight of the process used to create Internet Standards. The IAB serves as an appeal board for complaints of improper execution of the standards process. For example, the IAB also adjudicates appeals when someone complains that the IESG has failed.
- RFC Series and IANA: The IAB is responsible for editorial management and publication of the Request for Comments (RFC) document series, and for administration of the various Internet assigned numbers.
- External Liaison: The IAB acts as representative of the interests of the Internet Society in liaison relationships with other organizations concerned with standards and other technical and organizational issues relevant to the world-wide Internet.
- Advice to ISOC: The IAB acts as a source of advice and guidance to the Board of Trustees and Officers of the Internet Society concerning technical, architectural, procedural, and (where appropriate) policy matters pertaining to the Internet and its enabling technologies.
The Requests for Comments (RFCs) form a series of notes, started in 1969, about the Internet (originally the ARPANET). The notes discuss many aspects of computer communication, focusing on networking protocols, procedures, programs, and concepts but also including meeting notes, opinion, and sometimes humor.
The RFC Editor is the publisher of the RFCs and is responsible for the final editorial review of the documents. The RFC Editor also maintains a master file of RFCs called the "RFC index", which can be searched online.
The specification documents of the Internet protocol suite, as defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and its steering group the IESG, are published as RFCs. Thus, the RFC publication process plays an important role in the Internet standards process.
English is the official publication language for RFCs. RFC 2026 "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3" specifically allows RFCs to be translated into other languages than English, and repositories may exist for RFCs that have been translated into particular languages. This is highly encouraged by the RFC Editor. However, it is not possible for the RFC Editor to certify that such translations are accurate.
The RFC Editor function is funded by the Internet Society.
CERT Coordination Center
The CERT/CC is a major reporting center for Internet security problems. Staff members provide technical assistance and coordinate responses to security compromises, identify trends in intruder activity, work with other security experts to identify solutions to security problems, and disseminate information to the broad community. The CERT/CC also analyzes product vulnerabilities, publishes technical documents, and presents training courses.
The present CERT Coordination Center grew from a small computer emergency response team formed at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in November 1988, after a Cornell University graduate student released the "Morris Worm," which brought down much of the Internet and demonstrated the growing network's susceptibility to attack. Once a group of researchers drawn from government and the academic community successfully contained the worm, the National Computer Security Center (part of the National Security Agency), initiated a series of meetings to discuss how to prevent and respond to such occurrences in the future. The small team grew quickly and expanded its activities.
The CERT/CC is part of the the Networked System Survivability (NSS) Program located at the SEI, a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) and is a non-academic unit of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). The manager of that program reports to the director of the Software Engineering Institute.
The CERT/CC is funded primarily by the U.S. Department of Defense and a number of Federal civil agencies. Other funding comes from the private sector. As part of the Software Engineering Institute, it receives some funds from the primary sponsor of the SEI, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology.
ISC - Internet Systems Consortium (Internet Software Consortium since 1994 up to January 2004)
Internet Systems Consortium (ISC, formerly Internet Software Consortium) is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to developing and maintaining production quality Open Source reference implementations of core Internet protocols. ISC efforts are supported primarily by the donations of generous sponsors.
ISC's goal is to produce high-quality reference implementations that meet production standards. Reference implementations of Internet standards often have the weight of defacto standards and ISC's goal is to ensure that those reference implementations are properly supported and made freely available to the Internet community. ISC has extensive expertise in the development, management, maintenance and implementation of Internet technologies.
ISC's reference implementations are used by large-scale Internet service providers, network operators, and form the basis for many commercial implementations. ISC's code helps keep key protocols running by insuring interoperability, compliance with important aspects of the standards, and by providing an easy "plug-and-play" solution for vendors to issue products that are compatible with the rest of the Internet.
The ISC was started with a grant from the UUNET Communications Services (UCS), then became a fund administered by the Internet Multicasting Service, with in-kind and financial support from a variety of corporate sponsors, such as Usenix and Network Solutions, Inc.