Have you ever wondered who runs the Internet? Somebody has to run it, right? Tim Berners Lee, the guy who invented the World Wide Web doesn’t run it. Doesn’t it seem like there must be a magical entity floating above the clouds monitoring all the Internet traffic that zips around the planet every moment of every day? It can’t just run itself. It’s an interesting question that a lot of people have asked. As it turns out, there is an answer, but it’s not as simple as I had hoped.
This chart called Who Runs The Internet? by ICANN attempts to explain it all. In case you don’t know, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is a nonprofit private organization created back in 1998 to oversee a number of Internet-related tasks previously performed directly on behalf of the U.S. government by other organizations. It is responsible for much how much of the Internet works from a United States perspective (according to Wikipedia).
On this chart, ICANN answers this loaded question by explaining that no one person, company, organization or government runs it. It is comprised of many voluntarily interconnected autonomous networks that work cooperatively together for public good. ICANN is just one of about eleven organizations that are involved with running the Internet, and you can see those listed on the sides of this chart. By reading the middle section of this chart, you’ll begin to understand how all these systems work together to function as what we know today as “the Internet.”
After reading this, I’m going to change my question. Instead of wondering who runs the Internet, I am now wondering if someone somewhere controls what we see. The Google Transparency Report shows Google censorship, but I want to know if there’s more. Hmm…
Who Runs The Internet?
(Click Chart To Enlarge)