The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN (“eye-can”) has a hard-to-remember name and a easy-to-overlook mission. It is to “coordinate, at the overall level, the global Internet’s systems of unique identifiers; and ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.” This has just been restated in the organization’s draft strategic plan.
Of the many programs in place or planned at ICANN, most earn easy consensus. But some, like the intention to open up vast new areas of the Internet, are a bit more controversial. Those areas are new “name space,” databases of new names no longer limited to labels like .com or .net or .us. These new registries may be a brand (think .canon), a community (hear .cat) or a cause (support .green). (more…)