The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was founded on September 30, 1998 to oversee a number of Internet-related tasks previously performed directly on behalf of the U.S. government by other organizations, notably the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).
ICANN is responsible for managing the assignment of domain names and IP addresses. ICANN's tasks include responsibility for IP address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, top-level domain name system management, and root server system management functions. . . ICANN's primary principles of operation have been described as helping preserve the operational stability of the Internet; to promote competition; to achieve broad representation of global Internet community; and to develop policies appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes" (Wikipedia article in ICANN, accessed 05-16-2010).