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ICANN is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. It is a non-profit corporation which was created in October 1998 in order to take over a number of Internet-related tasks previously performed by other organizations, notably IANA. The contract for ICANN came from the US Department of Commerce and was "sole sourced", which means no-one else (such as the Open Root Server Confederation which was also formed at the time) was able to submit a bid to perform the task. These tasks include managing the assignment of domain names and IP addresses. To date, much of its work has concerned the introduction of seven new generic top-level domains. Its activities, however, are very controversial.

On 14th March 2002, in a public meeting in Accra, in Ghana, ICANN decided amongst other things, to reduce direct public ("at large") participation in how it is run. The next public meeting will be held in Shanghai, China.

ICANN holds periodic public meetings to stay in touch with its membership. There has been some criticisim of the locations of these meetings as being inaccessible to those not living in West Africa or the People's Republic of China.

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