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 [theregister.co.uk]. Despite months of requests, neither the society nor the proposed purchaser, Ethos Capital [theregister.co.uk], 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 [theregister.co.uk] 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.”