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Access Now calls to halt the sale of .org

While the internet community gathered at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to debate better internet governance structures, we learned that Internet Society (ISOC), with no warning or public input, intends to sell the control of the .ORG domain registry (called the Public Interest Registry) for an undisclosed amount to a for-profit private equity firm called Ethos Capital. Little is known about this firm, though it was founded six months ago, combines the money of several prominent Republican families in the United States, and includes former ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadi as an advisor.

This opaque decision was made without consulting civil society groups that rely on .ORG to operate, without taking into consideration the human rights impacts of the business deal, and without taking into account the sale’s deleterious effects on the governance of the open and free internet. It follows closely on the heels of the removal of price caps in the .ORG Registry Agreement, despite overwhelming community opposition. With this sale, Internet Society and ICANN have pulled the rug out from under civil society around the world to allow a sale that stands to benefit only a few.

“Civil society has built .ORG into the vibrant and valuable space that our communities depend on to exercise human rights in the digital age. The broad and long-lasting impact of this proposed sale contrasts with the narrow, closed, and rushed process we’ve seen so far. We demand an immediate halt for affected communities to have a say,” said Peter Micek, Access Now’s General Counsel.

The nonprofit community’s grave concerns about this deal manifested into a town hall gathering at IGF in Berlin today, showing the importance that this issue has for organizations big and small.

Read Access Now’s statement calling on ICANN and Internet Society to halt the sale of .ORG


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