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Past Project

Open Governance/ICANN

Contents last updated: 7/29/2003

The centerpiece of our research on Internet governance has been our work with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the nonprofit corporation responsible for coordinating the Internet Protocol (IP) number system, the Domain Name System (DNS), and related Internet protocols. These key elements of the Internet's architecture allow for the numerical assignment of computers and the mapping of names (such as cyber.harvard.edu) to those numbers.

In addition to taking an active role in the debate surrounding ICANN's creation and structure, we have conducted research into new and innovative methods to involve online users and interested parties in real-world open meetings with the ICANN Board of Directors. Berkman affiliates, fellows and staff have traveled to ICANN's quarterly meetings all around the world to provide solutions that combine webcasting, web-based comment submission, and online real-time scribing in an attempt to create a "virtual" meeting space in the conference room with the Board.

Our current study of ICANN gives the Berkman Center a unique opportunity to learn about and help shape a new form of governance for the Internet—one that can potentially respond to rapid change yet maintain the openness and accountability that lend authority and legitimacy to more traditional forms.

We invite you to follow the links below for details on our ICANN-related research.