- Associated Press - Friday, June 24, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Steve Crocker, one of the pioneers of the Internet, was named chairman Friday of the organization responsible for the online address system.

Crocker’s appointment came as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers wrapped up weeklong meetings in Singapore. On Monday, ICANN approved new guidelines for Internet addresses, allowing groups and companies to vie for suffixes such as “.bank” and .eco.”

As chairman, Crocker will oversee that expansion, the largest since the address system was created in 1984. Hundreds of new suffixes could be established by late next year to join the familiar “.com” and “.org.”

Crocker succeeds Peter Dengate Thrush, who has been chairman since 2007.

Formed in 1998, ICANN is the California-based organization that sets policies on domain names and other aspects of Internet addresses. Its decisions affect how computers find websites and route email messages around the world.

Crocker, 66, is ICANN’s fourth chairman and the second Internet founding father in that role. Vint Cerf, one of Crocker’s high school classmates, served from 2000 to 2007 and called his appointment “a first-rate choice for chair.”

As a UCLA grad student in the late `60s, Crocker helped develop the technical underpinnings of the Internet today.

Crocker and Cerf were both involved in developing the mechanisms for different computer networks to talk to one another. Crocker helped create the technical protocols for Arpanet, which evolved into the Internet after Cerf’s team developed the TCP/IP communications tools still in use today.

More recently, from 2002 to 2010, Crocker was chairman of an ICANN committee tasked with studying the security and stability of the Internet’s address system. He is also CEO of a startup company devoted to information sharing, Shinkuro Inc.

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