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“This year the Internet Society (ISOC) enters a new phase in its existence. The organisation was founded to achieve two fundamental purposes: To provide corporate support for the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and to promote the responsible and effective use of the Internet through education, discussion, and contributions to public policy. In the 1990s, we effectively prosecuted those goals. Much of the Internet access and use that now exists in developing countries can be traced to our collective efforts in conferences, training programmes, and the activities of ISOC chapters. However, during the past five years, we have experienced major restructuring and endured great limitations due to financial constraints both from within the organisation and throughout the industry.

With our establishment of the Public Interest Registry, the Internet Society has a new and welcome source of funds to support initiatives in the public interest. We plan to use the additional funds in our various efforts to promote the effective and responsible use of the Internet.

One of ISOC’s key relationships is with the IETF, a group that is critically important to the functionality and future directions of Internet technology. Today, the Internet Society and the IETF are engaged in a mutually beneficial and symbiotic relationship. ISOC provides major funding for the RFC (Request for Comments) editor and covers other IETF costs, and the IETF provides personnel and expertise critical to ISOC activities. With the IETF engaged in an administrative restructuring, one could characterise its current state as maturing and taking responsibility for itself—a job that has in the past been borne by individuals such as Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn, Jon Postel, and Bob Braden as well as by corporate entities, including the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the Internet Society, and the University of Southern California’s Institute for Information Sciences, to name a few.

The restructuring brings the contractual relationships with the various supports for the IETF—including the RFC editor, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority’s IETF activities, and the secretariat functions—under a common administrative umbrella. That structure will enable the IETF leadership to manage its relationships, activities, and tools in a more comprehensive and more business-like manner. It also makes it possible for the IETF’s financial activities to become far more transparent and fungible—and therefore manageable and accountable.

The improvements benefit ISOC’s organisational members—many of which employ IETF members—by making the IETF processes more predictable and the ISOC education and market development activities easier to carry out.

ISOC has 82 active chapters in 64 countries throughout the world as well as a large number of chapters in formation. It also has individual members in roughly 180 countries. The activities of chapters and individual members have been significant in content development, in education, and in guiding policy development. One of the former trustees, Tarek Kamel, was named minister of communications in Egypt, which is a credit both to him and to Egypt.

For chapters, which in the past have largely been on their own, the improvements put ISOC in a position to offer more services. Initially, chapters will benefit from an improved ISOC membermanagement system. Over time, we expect to provide even more educational materials for local chapter activities.

I am pleased to report that ISOC is enhancing its individual member model with a programme of professional membership. While our initial expectations are modest—a professional member joins ISOC and pays a fee as a show of support for the organisation while benefiting from some additional visibility—once enough such members join, they will be able to elect a percentage of trustees for the ISOC board.

The result of the improvements, supported by better funding, will be improved development of technical standards and enhanced efforts toward responsible and effective use of the Internet through education, discussion, and contributions to public policy. That, in the end, is why ISOC is here.”

— Fred Baker, Chair, Board of Trustees


  • Foreword By Fred Baker, Chair, Board of Trustees
  • Foreword By Lynn St. Amour, President and CEO
  • ISOC in 2003: A year in review
  • Plans for the Future
  • What is the Internet Society?
  • ISOC Pillar: Internet Standards
  • ISOC Pillar: Education
  • ISOC Pillar: Internet Policy
  • Worldwide Members and Chapters
  • Financial Report
  • For More Information