ICANN Board sends questions to ISOC on proposed .org sale

On 13 February 2020, Maarten Botterman, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) sent a letter to Gonzalo Camarillo, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society (ISOC), requiring ISOC to respond to a series of questions regarding the proposed sale of the Public Interest Registry (PIR) to private investment firm Ethos Capital. Botterman noted that the answers ‘will facilitate ICANN’s review, as well as further the .org community’s assessment of the impact of the proposed transaction on their organisations’. The questions raised by ICANN cover issues such as (a) the measures taken by ISOC to ensure that the commitments taken in 2002 with regard to the operation of .org are kept; (b) how ISOC evaluated any other bids for the sale of PIR; (c) whether the commitments taken by Ethos are included in any transaction documents; (d) what assurances Ethos made to remain responsive to the needs, concerns, and views of the noncommercial user community; (e) whether ISOC sought any inputs or consulted the registrants of .org or other interested stakeholders before engaging in a process to sell PIR; (f) why ISOC believes that the proposed sale to Ethos is in the public interest and benefits the .org community; (g) whether ISOC would commit to completing any additional engagement with the .org community prior to consummating the proposed transaction with Ethos Capital; (h) and whether ISOC has made a determination to no longer be involved in the .org registry (and therefore sell PIR even if the proposed transaction with Ethos does not conclude).