The Internet Society or ISOC is an international organization that promotes Internet use and access. The ISOC was officially formed in 1992 to provide a corporate structure to support the ad-hoc bodies active in the growth of the Internet.
Many of the driving forces in the Internet arena, such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), are very informal organizations from a legal perspective. There was a growing need for financial support and organization structures. The Internet Society was incorporated as a non-profit educational organization. Its members are corporations, organizations, governments, and universities. Its major standards efforts are directed through the IETF and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB). The ISOC now sponsors an annual conference (the INet), along with various publications and training seminars.
Like many functions and organizations active in the Internet, growth and evolution have been so rapid that no single perspective gives an understanding of the society. From one view, the ISOC is the parent corporation of the IETF. From another perspective, the ISOC grew out of the IETF to support those functions that require a corporate form rather than simply the ad-hoc approach of the IETF. Some functions of both organizations are supported by shared resources, known as the Secretariat. The ISOC has joint offices in Virginia and Geneva, Switzerland.