The Rejected Sale of PIR

Published: Tuesday, May 19th 2020
Tags: thoughts society internet

Apparently founded only last year, a private equity fund called Ethos Capital with just a single page website as their only online presence, last year offered to purchase Public Interest Registry, or PIR, the registry for the .ORG domain, from Internet Society (ISOC) for the neat sum of US $1.1 billion.

Ethos would have made a leveraged buyout and financed some of the sale by loading up PIR with US$ 360 million in debt. The sale would obviously expanded the coffers of ISOC, an organization with annual revenues around US$ 50 million, so ISOC roundly accepted the offer.

I rarely see things as black and white, but to me this proposed sale was definitely in the gray area. It felt a bit dirty for ISOC to sell off the registry that is the caretaker of the 10.3 million .ORG domains for the world’s non-profits, non-commercials, and charitable organizations to some LBO boys on a PE fund.

Apparently a lot of people and organizations thought the same. EFF and NTEN’s open letter to ISOC, PIR, and ICANN to reject the sale was endorsed by more than 27,000 people and roughly 900 organizations. Even California’s Attorney General urged ICANN to reject the sale.

On April 30th, ICANN officially rejected the deal - and my inbox was instantly filled with happy cheers from various organizations I follow. The question now, however, is how ISOC and PIR will move forward. In recent blog posts from both of them, it’s now back to normal. EFF on the other hand makes the assessment that ISOC has made it clear it no longer wants the responsibility of being the steward of PIR, so even though the dust has now settled a bit, it will be interesting to see what comes out of this process.

I’m myself a very inactive member of ISOC-SE, the Swedish Chapter of ISOC. I’m pretty sure ISOC-SE has only been in the fringes of this process, if that, but I have a few distant friends within ISOC-SE who are substantially more active, so I’m quite curious what thoughts they have on these developments. I’ll make sure to ask.


Links of the Week

Published: Sunday, May 17th 2020
Tags: software society links-of-the-week

Welcome to my first "links of the week" series of posts :). Here goes:

Europarama

While working in the garden I always try to catch up on podcasts and radio shows. This weekend I wanted something fresh so I did some googling and stumbled upon an amazing postcast called Europarama. It’s a podcast about science fiction and the future of Europe, and how we can imagine multiple futures for the old continent through science fiction. During the weekend I managed to listen to almost every episode - and they were well worth a listen!

I also learned that Europarama is produced in collaboration with what appears to be a very interesting magazine called Are We Europe, exploring "what it means to be European in an increasingly chaotic world". I have to spend some time exploring their "borderless storytelling" more closely.

Dollar Street

This is a link I’ve had in my bookmark collection for some time and it’s really interesting to go back to and look at from time to time. I remember when I first discovered it via TED about a year ago, I hooked up the laptop to the living room TV and the whole family travelled virtually across the world to see how other families are living, organized by income. Dollar Street by Anna Rosling Rönnlund at Gapminder is both eye-opening and entertaining.

Hacker Newsletter

Hacker News can be a treasure trove of interesting news for everyone interested in software, internet, engineering, and science. But it can be a tad bit overwhelming and tedious to sift through all posts. Enter Hacker Newsletter, a hand-curated weekly newsletter with the best links from the previous week - all delivered as a pre-weekend treat on Friday afternoons (for us in Europe). A perfect way to end the week. Sign up here.


Tänk Om 🇸🇪

Published: Tuesday, May 12th 2020
Tags: thoughts society

Under parollen Tänk om bjuder Miljöpartiet denna vecka in till att lite extra fundera över vilket samhälle vi vill ha och bygga. Jag tycker det blir ett ganska bra tillfälle att kort berätta om några anledningar till varför jag själv blev medlem i Miljöpartiet för inte så länge sedan och numera sitter som nybliven styrelseledamot för Miljöpartiet Västerås.

Det finns i huvudsak två aspekter kring varför jag valt att engagera mig i Miljöpartiet. Den ena är högst konkret och praktisk, den andra är högst ideologisk.

Det konkreta, praktiska och sakpolitiska är att Miljöpartiet helt enkelt hamnat högst upp på listan när jag svarat på de senaste valkompasserna för både EU-val och riksdagsval som SVT och många tidningar publicerar.

Det mer ideologiska är framför allt de tre s.k. solidariteterna som genomsyrar den gröna rörelsen och Miljöpartiet. Det är dessa pelare som ligger till grund för den politik som partiet för. Dessa är:

  1. Solidaritet med djur, natur och det ekologiska systemet.

  2. Solidaritet med kommande generationer.

  3. Solidaritet med världens alla människor.

Självklart finns det olika åsikter om saker och ting även inom den gröna rörelsen, men med sådana inkluderande värderingar som grund för allt vi gör känns Miljöpartiet och den gröna rörelsen som en väldigt viktig motvikt till en allt mer polariserad vi-och-dom-värld som tycks få större och större fäste dessa dagar.

Var med och gör skillnad du med - bli medlem här.