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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is slowly forming itself into a body capable of running the internet’s domain name and number infrastructure, but one of the keys to its future success or failure is a membership to elect the board of directors and vote on other key decisions. ICANN signed a memorandum of understanding with the US Department of Commerce on November 25 to start the transition to private funding and control of the internet infrastructure with it overseeing the whole thing. ICANN has picked a 13-member membership advisory committee to come up with ideas for membership schemes. For instance, ICANN might adopt a scheme whereby anybody could join, or one where you had to have a domain name to join or even restrict it to trade associations. ICANN put out a notice for applications to serve on the committee and says it received expressions of interest from more than 80 people. The committee starts work immediately and will report at the next ICANN public meeting, scheduled from March 2-4 in Singapore. The committee includes two ICANN board members: George Conrades, who chairs the committee and Greg Crew. Other members are drawn from all over the world and the committee will also get assistance from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard law school, which is undertaking a study of membership issues. Berkman professor Jonathan Zittrain will sit on the committee as a non-voting member.

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