The Internet Society announced plans to sell the Public Interest Registry (PIR). This is the organization that manages all of the .ORG domains in the world. It’s being sold to a private equity firm called Ethos Capital. Mozilla wrote a blog post about the issue.
Many concerns have been raised about the sale. Whoever controls the PIR can set and raise prices for .org domains, define rights protections rules, and suspend or take down domains that it deems unlawful. Non-governmental organizations around the world rely on .org domains, and a private entity could abuse its power. It’s like if PBS was sold to Disney.
While it’s also possible that a for-profit company could effectively play this stewardship role, extra steps would need to be taken to ensure that the company is accountable to dot org stakeholders and not just investors, now and for the long run. It is urgent that we take such steps if the sale of PIR is to go through.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) along with others wrote a letter to the Internet Society explaining their concerns.