The sale of PIR, the company that runs the .org domain name registry, has attracted a lot of interest since it was first announced back in mid-November.
The latest group to enter the fray is the Number Resource Organisation (NRO) which represents the interests of the five regional internet registries (RIRs) for IP addresses.
As a general rule the NRO does not usually get involved actively in ICANN policies or processes unless they have a direct and tangible impact on the RIRs’ area of interest ie. IP addressing.
However as part of the IANA transition a couple of years ago the NRO, via the Address Supporting Organisation (ASO) (talk about acronym overload!) was given some powers within the ICANN bylaws. This is new territory for pretty much everyone involved, so to date the usage of these new powers has been very limited. What it does mean, however, is that various groups within the ICANN ecosystem can make formal requests.
Last week the NRO via the ASO wrote to ICANN to formally request that ICANN give them information about how ICANN plans to handle the change of ownership of .org.
As a Decisional Participant in the Empowered Community and pursuant to ICANN Bylaws section 22.7, the ASO hereby submits this Inspection Request to inspect the records of ICANN, including minutes of the Board or any Board Committee, for the purpose of determining whether the ASO’s may have need to use its empowered community powers in the near future relating to the potential assignment of the .org Registry Agreement. For this purpose, the ASO seeks to inspect any ICANN records which pertain to or provide relevant insight to the process by which ICANN will consider (and potentially approve) the assignment of the .org Registry Agreement, including the process by which input from the affected community will be obtained prior to ICANN’s consideration and potential approval of the assignment.
The bit that’s probably of most interest to 3rd party observers is that related to “input”. Over the past couple of years ICANN has rubber stamped the transfers of quite a few registry contracts and agreements as they changed hands. To my knowledge the process normally would not trigger a direct public comment process of any kind, as it’s not policy related. However it’s clear that quite a few people in the broader internet community have concerns about the sale of .org.
Will this have any tangible impact?
The letter does not have a formal “ask” beyond clarification of the “process” ICANN will use. In a blog post in early December ICANN outlined how they were going to handle the sale, or at least the aspect of it that was in their wheelhouse.
In either case you can expect ICANN’s response to be published on their correspondence page in due course.