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posted by janrinok on Thursday February 20 2020, @05:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the maybe-too-late dept.

Now Internet Society told to halt controversial .org sale... by its own advisory council: 'You misread the community mindset around dot-org':

The Internet Society's own members are now opposing its sale of the .org internet registry to an unknown private equity firm.

The Chapters Advisory Council, the official voice of Internet Society (ISOC) members, will vote this month on whether to approve a formal recommendation that the society "not proceed [with the sale] unless a number of conditions are met."

Those conditions largely comprise the publication of additional details and transparency regarding ISOC's controversial sell-off of .org. Despite months of requests, neither the society nor the proposed purchaser, Ethos Capital, have disclosed critical elements of the deal, including who would actually own the registry if the sale went through.

[...] ISOC – and .org's current operator, the ISOC-controlled Public Interest Registry (PIR) – are still hoping to push DNS overseer ICANN to make a decision on the .org sale before the end of the month. But that looks increasingly unlikely following an aggressive letter from ICANN's external lawyers last week insisting ICANN will take as much time as it feels necessary to review the deal.

The overall lack of transparency around the $1.13bn deal has led California's Attorney General to demand documents relating to the sale – and ISOC's chapters are demanding the same information as a pre-condition to any sale in their proposed advice to the ISOC board.

That information includes: full details of the transaction; a financial breakdown of what Ethos Capital intends to do with .org's 10 million internet addresses; binding commitments on limiting price increases and free speech protections; and publication of the bylaws and related corporate documents for both the replacement to the current registry operator, PIR, and the proposed "Stewardship Council" which Ethos claims will give .org users a say in future decisions.

[...] "There is a feeling amongst chapters that ISOC seems to have disregarded community participation, failed to properly account for the potential community impact, and misread the community mindset around the .ORG TLD," the Chapters Advisory Council's proposed advice to the ISOC board – a copy of which The Register has seen – states.

Although the advisory council has no legal ability to stop ISOC, if the proposed advice is approved by vote, and the CEO and board of trustees push ahead with the sale regardless, it could have severe repercussions for the organization's non-profit status, and would further undermine ISOC's position that the sale will "support the Internet Society's vision that the Internet is for everyone."

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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday February 22 2020, @02:29AM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 22 2020, @02:29AM (#960907) Journal

    1. Why is SpaceX run by Elon Musk pouring $100 million into it the best possible way of building rockets? Why is it necessarily better than: (a) Elon Musk running government agency like NASA project building rockets, (b) Elon Musk as the head of a rocket-building program in a privately run non-profit organization such as a research institute or university, (c) Elon Musk running a for-profit corporations controlled by a large number of investors whose business is building rockets?

    On your first question, there could be plenty of better ways to make rockets. They just haven't happened yet. On a), Musk has run SpaceX for over 15 years. Who'd let him do that for NASA? And where's the excellent decision making leadership that would put him in charge?

    On b), there's no such rocket-building program now. And the most likely course for such an organization to build massive manufacturing capability would be to spin off the project as a business corporation.

    On c), is a rebuttal question, you'll hear a lot later in this post. Namely, if that's such a good idea, then why hasn't it happened yet? We aren't operating in a vacuum, we have over a half a century of history which demonstrates that there's something deeply wrong with the traditional approaches to space development.

    2. While Musk isn't an idiot by any means, he's also not the only person capable of leading projects to build rockets, electric cars, etc etc. We know this because other people are leading other organizations that build rockets, electric cars, etc etc that are comparable to Musk's designs. Why is Musk the one in charge if other people can do his job well?

    How are you going to find these people? Is there an exam for Musk-level business/rocketry competence? And if there are all these people who can do Musk's job at companies that can do SpaceX's job, then why aren't they?

    3. Again, while Musk is a smart guy, he's not the one actually designing and building most things. He relies on a substantial staff of scientists, engineers, designers, and other professionals. If Musk was out of the equation entirely, why are you certain that this staff couldn't make rockets without him?

    Why didn't they before Musk came along? A huge thing that is missed here is that there has been plenty of time, going on 60 years, for private industry to develop a SpaceX style approach to space launch. They've long had the money, talent, and technology to make it happen. But they didn't. And this isn't just the US. We have at least half a dozen substantial national-level rocketry programs throughout the world that could have duplicated SpaceX's success any time in the past few decades and a bunch of large aerospace businesses with the resources. They didn't either.

    All the considerable initial talent that started SpaceX was hired from existing companies. Musk had a huge selling point that drew them in like flies - you could design and build rockets that would launch within your lifetime. SpaceX was here to launch rockets not to chase paper and public funding. That existed because there was a bored billionaire willing to sweat to make this company go forward.

    SpaceX is unique in that it has the intent to change the aerospace industry and the capability to do so. This could have happened any time in the past 60 years. A huge part of the reason it didn't is that the very tools you suggested here, like using a bloated, highly inefficient government agency, throwing a bunch of talent on the wall and hoping some of it sticks, or herding a zillion investor cats, never worked in the first place.

    The big thing missed with the "ten million dollars is good enough for anyone." ideology of the start of the thread is that it's not true. You can't do a lot of things on ten million dollars. SpaceX is just one of them. I think the power of the business world is that it's a rival source of creativity and industry at the society-level to government and academia. Here, we had more than half a century to find all those competent people and kickstart a massive development effort in space. Musk had a bunch of money kicking around, he was able to create a business that has changed space development for the better - bypassing the paraphernalia that was supposed to do that, but never worked right. By destroying the concentration of resources in the business world, we destroy a substantial agent of change in our society that doesn't come from the government power structure and bureaucracy.

    I would love to find something that works better, that gives the hidden talents of our world a place for expression. But the current state of things is better than hoping some government gets around to recognizing these people. We know because it didn't happen.