Alternative Investments: Sen. Ron Wyden Dismisses Ethos’ Response to .org Domain Sale

Letter from Ethos is simply “not good enough,” or in other words, hot air

The protest over the sudden and non-transparent sale of the .org domain to an obscure private equity firm for $1.35 billion has three Democratic Senators embroiled in it.

Non-profit organizations around the globe extensively use the domain. The sale raised fears amongst the Internet community that Ethos may raise domain registration fees indiscriminately. Other fears revolve around the unjustified or incorrect suspension of domains, and Rights Protection Mechanisms.

However, more than 600 organizations and 20,000 individuals have petitioned to stall the sale of .org to Ethos.

Last month, U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., questioned whether nonprofit groups, free speech, and internet users would be harmed selling control of .org domains to Ethos Capital, a private equity firm.

Senators’ concerns on .org sale

“The nonprofit community is understandably concerned about whether Ethos Capital, a private equity firm that has existed for less than six months, will act as a responsible steward over this core component of the internet infrastructure,” they wrote.

Further, the Senators requested answers by January 6, 2020, to nine questions.

The CEOs of Ethos Capital, the Internet Society, and PIR respond

In a joint response, the CEOs stated: “PIR and Ethos take the preservation of freedom of expression seriously, and the registry’s commitment to free speech will continue unabated.”

“Ethos is committed to investing in the long-term vitality of.ORG and its users and intends to serve the needs of the community for many years to come. For all of these reasons, we believe this acquisition serves the public interest,” said the three CEOS jointly.

Empty words?

Senator Wyden certainly seems to think so. In an email to Gizmodo, he said the Ethos letter boiled down simply to “trust us.”

“Nothing in this response addresses my concerns that selling .org to a private equity firm would be a real blow to internet users and nonprofits,” he said.

Related Story: Private Equity Shop Ethos Capital Buys the .Org Domain Registry

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