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The ICANN Board adopted new bylaws on October 31st, 2002; which came in to effect on December 15th of that year. The creation of the ALAC was part of a larger reform effort within ICANN, now known as ICANN 2.0. The new bylaws established the ALAC and provided the support for At-Large Organizations. It stated that the ALAC should consist of ten members selected by Regional At-Large Organizations, with 5 supplementary members to be be selected by ICANN's Nominating Committee. The interim ALAC consisted of ten members, two from each of ICANN's 5 regions.
Esther Dyson, former ICANN Chair and ALAC member, has noted how difficult it is to truly represent the average Internet user within ICANN, even with the ALAC. Specific problems include difficulty recruiting members and having productive message boards and long-distance communications.
- Main article: ALS
The ALAC represents a network of regionally self-organized and self-supporting At-Large Structures, which represent individual Internet users throughout the world. The At-Large Structures are divided into five Regional At-Large Organizations (one in each ICANN region – Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean, and North America). These RALOs manage public involvement and represent their constituents to ICANN.
Through these At-Large Structures, individual internet users have been given a voice and a space whereby they can influence the policy decisions made by ICANN.
Besides following the provisions of ICANN's new bylaws, ALAC has also other responsibilities; such as assisting in the formation and qualification of other At-Large Structures and RALOs. Other responsibilities undertaken by ALAC and its organizations include:
- Evaluating the accreditation process for At-Large Structures
- Analyzing and publishing ICANN's policies and decisions
- Coordinating with the GNSO and other ICANN committees
- Providing guidance and advice to various organizations regarding ICANN's proposals and activities which are relevant for individual Internet users
- Analyzing and approving the applications of At-Large Structures
- Developing Internet-based processes and methods to enable and ease the communication process between At-Large structures