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Tuesday, May 05, 2020

PIR sales: ISOC President dismayed by ICANN decision to stop deal - ITREALMS

The President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Internet Society (ISOC), Mr. Andrew Sullivan, has expressed dismay over the decision of the the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to stop the sale of its Public Interest Registry (PIR) to Ethos Capital, reports ITREALMS.

Sullivan in an open letter to ISOC Chapter delegates and sighted by 
ITREALMS, said that though the period of uncertainity was over.

"I am, of course, disappointed by ICANN's decision. ICANN took much longer than it should have to render its decision, and in my view, stretched beyond its own agreements and the remit in its bylaws. I am also concerned that ICANN has shown itself to be much more susceptible to political pressure than its mandate would recommend.

"Nevertheless, I am grateful that ICANN has now rendered a clear decision. This decision means that the period of uncertainty is over. In the future, we will continue to rely on our colleagues at PIR to provide exemplary registries in rigorous compliance with their ICANN agreements, and to continue to provide generous funding to the Internet Society."

Further, part of his letter reads:

"Over the past several months there has been much discussion and interest within our community regarding the Internet Society's plan to sell Public Interest Registry (PIR), operator of .ORG and other top-level domains, to Ethos Capital. Under PIR's registry operator agreements, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) must consent to this (or any other) indirect change of control in order for the transaction to move to the next phase of the approval process.

"ICANN has announced that it does not consent to the transaction. ICANN's decision effectively means that the transaction cannot, and will not, proceed.

"When the Internet Society Trustees accepted the offer from Ethos in a unanimous vote, they did so because they believed, and still do, that the transaction would be good for the Internet Society, good for PIR, and good for registrants in .ORG and all the registries PIR operates. It's not very often where an opportunity presents itself that has advantages for everyone.

"When we announced the proposed transaction, several people, including some in our own community, expressed unhappiness with it. I want to acknowledge the criticism and emotions that greeted the transaction. I know there are members of the Internet Society who were angry and hurt by this proposal, and I am sorry about that.

"Several people also expressed disappointment about how the sale was handled. If we could have better apprised you, our community, in advance of this sale, we would have. Requests for large-scale consultation came from across our community; this was not something we could possibly undertake. The months since the proposal was announced have been hard on PIR's staff, and an extended consultation without any clear picture of what the possible outcomes might be would have been worse for PIR and therefore for .ORG. Neither the Trustees nor I believed we could undertake such a consultation without damaging PIR, which would itself be harmful to the community that relies on .ORG.

"Our community has been through a trial, and to address it, the Board of Trustees has already embarked on efforts to repair our bonds. While there were differing views about aspects of the proposed transfer, we have a unity forged in our shared commitment to the Internet, and our collective will to build a stronger and more accessible Internet is as assured as ever.

"The organization has continued to develop its staff function to better respond to community needs, and to make sure that our work is both demonstrably useful to the Internet and relevant to its needs. We have received positive feedback about both the report of our 2019 activities and the Action Plan for 2020. Our work on encryption, protocols, global routing, time security, community networks, and other priorities are moving with pace. Together we have work to do, especially at this time of global crisis when reliance on communication – and especially the Internet - is critical for society.

"We will continue to grow the operations of the Internet Society Foundation, and we will keep working with our partners at PIR to ensure that the Internet Society can continue to build, promote and defend the Internet. In no way will this disrupt or slow the work of the Internet Society, our chapters or members, to achieve our vision of an Internet for everyone."

Chuks Egbune/DoP

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