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Against this menacing background, the subject of internet governance – long an arcane topic of discussion among geeks and technologists – takes on crucial political importance.It was founded in 1998 to take over an informal system that had been managed by an early internet guru named Jon Postel, an eccentric, computer-science professor at the University of Southern California.ICANN also supervised Postel's system of national suffixes, such as ".uk" or ".ru," which helped other countries join the network.ICANN's contract with the Commerce Department is set to expire Sept. 30 .Crocker explains the protections that ICANN has designed into the system. A committee of engineers, drawn from the U.S., Europe and Asia, will oversee the "root" system that Postel created. Another global panel of engineers will guard the system's security.The underlying system looks more secure – and is probably best protected by ICANN's global alliance of geeks, rather than any government or agency.
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