Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

1.19. Who runs the Internet?

No one "runs" the Internet. There is no governing entity or business calling the shots. Remember, the Internet is a decentralized mass of thousands of smaller networks, each running with their own purpose, their own sources of income, and their own rulemakers. The Internet is more or less an anarchy. Every organization that is plugged into the Internet is responsible for its own computers.

The fact that no one runs the Internet has its advantages and disadvantages. On the up side, there are no membership fees, no censorship, and no government control. Unfortunately, when something goes wrong (if an important computer goes down or another user begins annoying you), there's no central authority to ask for help. In the absence of "net cops" policing the Internet, users need to rely on their own judgments and the assistance of the system administrators at their site to solve problems or resolve disputes. Most of the time, you're on your own.

The Internet is guided in its growth, however, by several organizations (loosely called the Internet technical groups) that manage it. These organizations attempt to structure the Internet while creating a minimum of restrictions.

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