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6 lawmakers urge ICANN to reject .Org sale

Warren, Wyden formally ask ICANN to reject sale.

Photo of Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren is one of the lawmakers asking ICANN to reject the .org sale. Photo from

Six U.S. lawmakers have asked (pdf) ICANN to reject the sale of .Org to Ethos Capital, a private equity company.

The lawmakers include presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, Rony Wyden, Richard Blumenthal, Edward Markey, Anna Eshoo, and Mark Pocan.

In a letter to ICANN, they provide a litany of reasons that ICANN should reject the deal. One is that they believe the new owners will raise prices and cut costs as a way to pay down debt and return funds to investors.

They point out that, even if Ethos raises prices 10% a year on average, this is three times how much PIR has traditionally raised prices.

The letter concludes:

The proposed sale of .ORG is against the public interest and would violate ICANN’s commitment to “preserve and enhance .. . the operational stability, reliability, security … and
openness of the DNS and the Internet.

ICANN has previously said that it doesn’t have authority over the deal. While it can technically not consent to the transfer, its approval can’t be “unreasonably withheld”. What that means is open to interpretation.

Surprisingly, Republican Ted Cruz has not chimed in on the matter. Given his stance about the U.S. controlling ICANN, you’d think he’d be all over this issue.

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