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Background on ISOC

Dot Org LogoThe Internet Society (ISOC) is the premier nonprofit, non-governmental membership organization focused exclusively on Internet issues. It was founded in 1991 to be the international focal point for global cooperation and coordination in the development of the Internet and has offices in Washington, DC and Geneva. Through its current initiatives in support of education and training, Internet standards and protocol, and public policy, ISOC has played a critical role in ensuring that the Internet has developed in a stable and open manner. For 10 years ISOC has run international network training programs for developing countries which have played a vital role in setting up the Internet connections and networks in virtually every country that has connected to the Internet.

ISOC's principal purpose is to maintain and extend the development and availability of the Internet and its associated technologies and applications - both as an end in itself, and as a means of enabling organizations, professions, and individuals worldwide to more effectively collaborate, cooperate, and innovate in their respective fields and interests. ISOC's specific goals and purposes include:

  • Facilitating the open development of standards, protocols, administration, and technical infrastructure of the Internet
  • Supporting education in developing countries specifically, and wherever the need exists
  • Promoting professional development and opportunities for association to Internet leadership
  • Providing reliable information about the Internet
  • Providing forums for discussion of issues that affect Internet evolution, development, and use--including technical, commercial and societal issues
  • Fostering an environment for international cooperation, community, and a culture that enables self-governance to work
  • Serving as a focal point for cooperative efforts to promote the Internet as a positive tool to benefit all people throughout the world
  • Providing management and coordination for strategy initiatives and outreach efforts - including humanitarian, educational, and societal initiatives

ISOC focuses on making an impact in 4 key areas:

  • The ISOC supports the global expansion of the Internet and its use through numerous educational initiatives such as the Regional Internet Training Workshops, Network Training Workshops (NTWs) and annual conferences such as INET and NDSS.
  • ISOC develops and promotes positions on issues of particular interest to the global Internet community, such as: privacy, security, internationalized domain names and IPv6. The Society is involved in other areas as well, including: taxation, governance, digital divide and intellectual property issues.
  • Standards and Protocol: ISOC is the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (, the Internet Architecture Board ( and the Internet Engineering Steering Group ( These standards are the foundation of every modern network or Internet product and service.
  • Membership: works closely with nearly every major Internet influencing body

ISOC has two types of members: individuals and organizations. Currently, ISOC has more than 10,000 individual members made up primarily of persons interested in the development and broader adoption of the Internet globally. Individual membership is free. These members range from prominent Internet leaders to concerned citizens and come from all over the world. In addition, ISOC has more than 150 organizational members. These too have global concerns, and include a wide range of noncommercial entities such as Stockholm University, Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology, and the Centre International Pour le Developpement de l'Inforoute en Francais, as well as corporations like Cisco Systems, Inc., and Deutsche Telekom AG.

An important aspect of ISOC is that it is the organizational home for many important Internet standards-setting bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), and the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG). Additionally, ISOC coordinates closely with nearly every major Internet influencing body, including the Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center and the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Regional Internet Registry for Europe. As such, it has been deeply involved in Internet technical development issues through its decade of service, and is especially well versed in the impact of the Internet on the underdeveloped, underserved, and noncommercial segments.

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