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Revolution, comrades: Internet Society told to halt .org sale… by its own advisory council
From The Register. The ethics of Ethos emerges.

> With opposition to the deal growing within the internet community, and following an abortive attempt by PIR to force ICANN to make a decision this month, it looks increasingly likely that the .org sell-off will fall through.


> In the ICANN lawyers' letter, the organization rejected PIR’s insistence that any decision be limited to technical security and stability considerations, and said all parties “have long recognized the unique public-interest-focused nature of the .ORG domain, and ICANN's contractual role in evaluating proposed changes.”

> ICANN also rejected [PDF] “any artificial restriction on the scope of ICANN's analysis” and noted “the obvious importance to the public interest of its operation.” It concluded: “ICANN is reviewing PIR's request for change of control in light of all of the relevant circumstances, and it looks forward to your client's continued cooperation in this process.”

But this looks dodgy, too. Rushing the deal makes oversight harder. “Buy now! This deal can’t last,” is a barker’s ploy.

> Both ISOC and Ethos have been relatively open about the fact that any deal would need to be concluded quickly. As such, the longer discussions persist, the more risky the deal looks. That’s not all, however: anger at ISOC’s board from its members is growing and the furor risks damaging the organization itself.

And then, there’s some evidence of Ethos sidestepping the non-com charity status.

> Under US law, for an organization to be tax exempt, at least one third of the organization’s revenue must come from donors who each individually give less than two per cent of overall receipts, something called the “public support test.” ISOC does not meet that test because the vast majority of its income comes from a single source: the sale of .org domains, paid through a separate non-profit organization, PIR, that ISOC controls.

> There is an exception, however. An organization can retain public charity status if public support is at least 10 per cent of revenues but an organization must assert it is operating as a charity, rather than a foundation, and is actively working to get its public support percentage up to 33 per cent.

> For this reason, every year since its inception, ISOC has included the same explanation in its tax documents for why it should be granted charity status despite not meeting the 33 per cent test: because it is doing great work with its members around the world.

This doesn’t warrant a sarcastic remark.
icann  regulation 
7 weeks ago by mcmorgan
The .org Scandal: What if .org goes away?!
I just registered and redirected it to, as a possible mitigation of my exposure to the .org scandal. The ccTLD of Montserrat may be no more resilient than .org, but I think it's worth considering.
dotorg  icann  isoc  pir  EthosCapital  scandal 
8 weeks ago by sbw
Stress test of accountability!
Inspection Request denied because it exceeds the Permitted Scope.
ASO  ICANN  from twitter_favs
8 weeks ago by jubois
RT : is holding a DNS Symposium 7-8 May 2020 in Paris. The theme is: "DNS ecosystem security: we're all in this t…
ICANN  from twitter_favs
9 weeks ago by jubois
ICANN't approve the sale of .org to private equity – because California's Attorney General has... concerns • The Register
ICANN't approve the sale of .org to private equity – because California's Attorney General has... concerns
9 weeks ago by eh
What is really important about the .ORG fight for the long term is that this is the first test of the post-C…
ICANN  from twitter_favs
10 weeks ago by eh
Six senators officially call on to reject sale of .org to Ethos Capital. Reasons given: heavy debt burden; l…
ICANN  from twitter_favs
11 weeks ago by schee
ICANN extracts $20m signing fee for $1bn dot-com price increases – and guess who's going to pay for it? • The Register
Kieren McCarthy:
<p>Operator of the dot-com registry, Verisign, has decided to pay DNS overseer ICANN $4m a year for the next five years in order to “educate the wider ICANN community about security threats.”

Even though the generous $20m donation has nothing to do with ICANN signing off on an extension of the dot-com contract until 2024, the “binding letter of intent” [PDF] stating the exact amount of funding will be appended to the registry agreement that Verisign has with ICANN to run the dot-com registry.

That extension lifts a price freeze put in place several years ago and will allow Verisign to increase prices by 7% a year.

It’s an increase that we <a href="">calculated was worth $993m</a> and which the stock market appeared to agree with when it raised the company’s share price by 16% when the agreement was first flagged in November 2018.

No doubt ICANN’s lawyers are concerned that extracting $20m to sign a piece of paper worth $1bn to its recipient could be viewed negatively, perhaps by the cynical as a sign that it is a corrupt organization that is using its control of a critical market to feather its own nest. But that’s clearly not the case because, as ICANN makes plain, it would have approved the agreement anyway.</p>

ICANN is the worst and continues to be the worst. The fact that such a terrible organisation is in charge of a key element of infrastructure is a depressing comment on our ability to organise anything.
icann  dotcom 
12 weeks ago by charlesarthur
RT : The sale of the .org top-level domain to a private investment firm can still be stopped by . Now there is an…
ICANN  from twitter_favs
12 weeks ago by sfermigier
Inside the billion-dollar battle over .org • The New York Times
Steve Lohr:
<p>When ICANN renewed the 10-year contract with the Public Interest Registry last year, it removed a price cap that limited price increases to 10 percent a year at most. That move was part of a broader ICANN policy to ease price controls across all internet domains.

Ethos Capital [the private equity firm that wants to buy the .org registry] has pledged to adhere to the 10 percent cap, though it would have no contractual obligation to do so. In <a href="">blog posts</a>, the private equity firm said it planned to invest in new services and clamp down on spam, security attacks and other abuse launched from some illicit dot-org domains.

Some nonprofits worry that any cleanup effort could result in censorship, even if inadvertently. As the owner of the registry for dot-org, Ethos Capital would manage the acceptable business practices and conduct for dot-org domains. The same freedoms that open the door to extremist groups on some dot-org sites, nonprofit leaders say, also help protect free speech on public-interest dot-org sites in developing countries with authoritarian governments.

Ethos Capital said it would never facilitate censorship. It has also vowed to set up an independent “stewardship council” to monitor its management of the dot-org network.

Since the deal was announced, Mr. Brooks and top executives of the Internet Society and the Public Interest Registry have spoken with skeptics in person, in web sessions and on conference calls, seeking to reassure them that dot-org would be in safe hands. And on Tuesday, they submitted a detailed response to the questions raised by the four members of Congress [including Elizabeth Warren].</p>

There's now a rival group looking to buy .org for much cheaper but offering clearer safeguards. Question is, can Ethos really guarantee that it will cut the spam and security attacks? The problem is in the structure of the deal: if ICANN can't revert it for non-compliance on promises it makes, you can promise anything.
icann  internet  org 
january 2020 by charlesarthur

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