The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has requested additional information from interested parties in the sale of the .org domain. The decision comes after the Internet Society announced on 13 November an agreement with Ethos Capital, a capital investment firm, to acquire the Public Interest Registry (PIR), which includes the .org community. According with the NGO statement, the proposal came in September this year and the transaction is expected to be finalized during the first quarter of 2020.
ICANN states, in statement, which on 14 November was notified by the RIP of the proposed transaction. Thus, in order to be able to assess whether the process is legitimate and whether the entities concerned meet the necessary criteria, the NGO made a request to the Internet Society, the RIP and Ethos Capital. The NGO says it is evaluating the proposal “very seriously”, but to ensure that the .org domain remains “safe, reliable and stable”, stakeholders need to “act transparently throughout the process”.
The possible transition of the .org domain from the hands of an NGO to those of a private company has raised many questions and concerns, even leading to the creation of the Save .org initiative. The website adds opposition to the purchase and urges netizens to sign the letter asking them not to.
So far, already more than 17,900 people signed the letter, arguing that decisions affecting .org should be made in consultation with all NGO communities, "overseen by a community leader." If the Internet Society cannot play this role, "it should work with the NGO community and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to find an" appropriate replacement. "
THE Internet Society clarified Ethos Capital is committed to keeping .org "affordable and reasonably priced for all." However, the opposition is concerned that registration fees could be raised without the approval of ICANN or the .org community, “which would put many low-income NGOs in the difficult position of choosing to pay higher fees or lose legitimacy. and brand recognition for a .org domain. ”
The possibility of developing and implementing a unilateral rights mechanism without consulting the .org community is also not welcomed. Another criticism concerns the power to implement processes to suspend domain names based on allegations of “activity contrary to applicable law”. In this sense, the letter reinforces the need for NGO interests to speak louder than financial ones.