Internet Engineering Task Force

Internet Engineering Task Force - Logo

The Internet Engineering Task Force is the standards organization that develops and updates underlying Internet protocols, such as TCP/IP. Its membership comprises researchers and industry professionals, and is limited to individuals (as opposed to organizations). All of its documents, mailing lists, and meetings are openly available. A proposal within the Internet Engineering Task Force becomes an eligible Internet Standard after a deliberation process and demonstrated success in the marketplace. Though it was funded by the government until 1998, it is now supported by The Internet Society, which appears to be mostly industry money (see below).

Government Involvement

Until 1998, the Internet Engineering Task Force was funded by various agencies of the United States government.

In dealing with IP addresses, it must coordinate with Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, which may include some government oversight.

Internet Standards are not enforced by government mandates, though some government regulations refer to IETF standards.


Since 1998, in addition to meeting fees, the Internet Engineering Task Force has been funded by the Internet Society, which is a non-profit organization. The Internet Society has received funding from Google.org. It is not totally clear whether they receive any government funding, but it appears that they were created in part to secure funding for the Internet Engineering Task Force after its government funding ended. The 2015 financial statement of the Internet Society doesn't seem to mention any government funding. Its membership appears to consist almost entirely of companies, and each level of membership requires a monetary contribution.



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