The Internet Society
an international, nonprofit organization founded during 1992 to
provide direction in Internet
standards, education, and policy. It states that its mission is "to
assure the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for
the benefit of all people throughout the world".
The Internet Society has offices near Washington, DC, USA, and in
Geneva, Switzerland. It has a membership base comprising more than
80 organizational and more than 28,000 individual members. Members
also form "chapters" based on either common geographical location
or special interests. There are currently more than 90 chapters
around the world.
ISOC was formed officially in 1992, with one of its purposes being
to provide a corporate structure to support the Internet standards
development process. Vint Cerf
, Bob Kahn
, Lyman Chapin
released a document, Announcing ISOC
, which explained the
rationale for establishing the Internet Society. This document also
defines the original charter of the organization as follows:
The Society will be a non-profit organization and will be
operated for international educational, charitable, and scientific
purposes, among which are:
- To facilitate and support the technical evolution of the
Internet as a research and education infrastructure and to
stimulate involvement of the academic, scientific, and engineering
communities (among others) in the evolution of the Internet.
- To educate the academic and scientific communities and the
public concerning the technology, use, and application of the
- To promote scientific and educational applications of Internet
technology for the benefit of educational institutions at all grade
levels, industry, and the public at large.
- To provide a forum for exploration of new Internet applications
and to foster collaboration among organizations in their operation
and use of the Internet.
Many of the main forces of the Internet, such as the Internet Engineering Task
(IETF), were (and still remain) very informal
organizations from a legal perspective. There was a growing need
for financial support and organization structure. The Internet
Society was incorporated as a non-profit educational organization
which could provide that support structure, as well as promoting
other activities that were important for the development of the
Like many functions and organizations active in the Internet,
growth and evolution have been so rapid that no single perspective
gives an understanding of the Society. From one view, ISOC is the
parent corporation of the IETF; as such all IETF Request for Comments
including those RFCs which describe "Internet Standards", are
copyrighted by ISOC (although available freely to anyone, including
non-members, at no charge). From another perspective, ISOC grew out
of the IETF, to support those functions that require a corporate
form rather than simply the ad-hoc approach of the IETF.
ISOC conducts a great range of activities under three main
categories, namely standards, public policy, and education.
Under the standards category, ISOC supports and promotes the work
of the standards settings bodies for which it is the organizational
home: the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet
Architecture Board (IAB), the Internet Engineering Steering Group
(IESG), and the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF). ISOC also
seeks to promote understanding and appreciation of the Internet model
of open, transparent processes
and consensus-based decision making.
Under the public policy category, ISOC works with governments,
national and international organizations, Civil Society
, the private sector, and other
parties to promote policies about the Internet that conform to
ISOC's core values. The following statement illustrates the
foundation for ISOC's policy positions:
We envision a future in which people in all parts of
the world can use the Internet to improve their quality of life,
because standards, technologies, business practices, and government
policies sustain an open and universally accessible platform for
innovation, creativity, and economic opportunity.
ISOC has a prominent function in Internet governance
including significant involvement in the World Summit on the
and Internet Governance Forum
Under the category of education, ISOC pursues its goals by
coordinating and delivering hands-on technical training, seminars
and conferences on topical Internet issues; supporting local and
regional Internet organisations; issuing briefings and white papers
on Internet technologies; and funding participation opportunities
for Internet experts in developing countries.
ISOC today is the parent company for the Public Interest Registry
manages the .ORG
joint offices in Reston,
Virginia, United States and Geneva, Switzerland.
It has also established "Regional Bureaus"
for Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia.
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees of the Internet Society is its governing
The current board of Trustees is composed of
Society (ISOC) - Introduction to ISOC
- Internet Society (ISOC) All About The Internet: History of
- Internet Society (ISOC) - ISOC's Standards
- Internet Society - Public Policy - ISOC's Public Policy
- Internet Society (ISOC) - ISOC's Education