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1st November, 2002 

Preliminary reports from the last day of the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers) Conference in Shanghai indicate that the Board of Directors voted by a majority of 15 to 3 to adopt sweeping reforms to the structure of the non-profit organisation which runs the Internet naming and addressing system.

ICANN's history dates back beyond June 1998, when the US Department of Commerce and an interagency task force headed by Presidential Senior Adviser Ira Magaziner made a formal "Statement of Policy on the Privatization of Internet Domain Name System", now called by its colloquial name - the DNS White Paper. The Paper proposed the creation of a private nonprofit corporation to take over the DNS and institute various reforms. 

ICANN was incorporated as a private nonprofit California corporation and after some negotiation, DoC transferred to the new entity much of the responsibility it had claimed for itself over the DNS management and technical co-ordination functions for the Internet. 

ICANN's original board had consisted of 19 directors. Nine members were constituted by nomination from three supporting organisations responsible for addressing, technical protocols and domain names, while the other nine were intended to be elected directly by ICANN's "at large membership" (essentially all interested parties in the Internet). The remaining one member was the President and CEO of ICANN. Recent controversy had centred around the fact that ICANN had amended its bylaws to allow four of the original nine interim at large members whose position was intended to be purely temporary and transitional to stay in their positions so that only five true at large members were in fact elected by the Internet community, in worldwide elections held in 2000.

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