Archive for November 25, 2019

Monday, November 25, 2019

.org Top-Level Domain Sold

Kieren McCarthy (via Quincy Larson):

At the end of last week, the Internet Society (ISOC) announced that it has sold the rights to the .org registry for an undisclosed sum to a private equity company called Ethos Capital. The deal is set to complete in the first quarter of next year.

The decision shocked the internet industry, not least because the .org registry has always been operated on a non-profit basis and has actively marketed itself as such. The suffix “org” on an internet address – and there are over 10 million of them – has become synonymous with non-profit organizations.


No one, including, we understand, the board of ICANN, expected the Internet Society to sell the registry. But it is also worth noting that the contract negotiation failed to add, or even ask for, protections or commitments to .org’s long-standing non-profit status despite the significant contractual changes and an extension of the contract by 10 years, far longer than previous extensions.

Save .ORG (via Hacker News):

Decisions affecting .ORG must be made with the consultation of the NGO community, overseen by a trusted community leader. If the Internet Society (ISOC) can no longer be that leader, it should work with the NGO community and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to find an appropriate replacement.

The 2019 .ORG Registry Agreement represents a significant departure from .ORG’s 34-year history. It gives the registry the power to make several policy decisions that would be detrimental to the .ORG community[…]


Update (2020-01-02): Nick Heer:

Translation: “If we had told people about this before the sale, it would have meant answering awkward questions that I very much wish to avoid — then and now.”

Andrew Sullivan (via Hacker News):

In our continued interest to be transparent about the details of the agreement regarding Ethos Capital’s acquisition of Public Interest Registry from the Internet Society, earlier today we disclosed the purchase price of the transaction: $1.135 billion.


Our mission is to support and promote the development of the Internet around the world — an Internet that is open, globally connected, secure, and trustworthy. Our agreement with Ethos Capital will allow us to accelerate our initiatives based on more sustainable, dependable funding, to enable us to commit to longer-term investments and to do much more to ensure that the Internet is there for everyone.

Update (2020-02-04): Nick Heer:

The Attorney General’s letter is thorough, and ICANN indicates that it intends to respond at the end of next week. ICANN has also said that it wants approval for the sale to be delayed from February 17 to April 20.

Update (2020-04-17): Kieren McCarthy (via Hacker News):

ICANN has again delayed a decision on the sale of the .org registry, pushing the issue off for another month multiple sources with knowledge of Thursday’s meeting, have told The Register.

The organization’s board of directors was due to decide today on whether to approve the $1.13bn sale of the .org domain from the Internet Society to private equity firm Ethos Capital, but a last-minute letter from California’s attorney general Xavier Becerra appears to have upended the plan.

Update (2020-05-06): Kieren McCarthy:

ICANN has vetoed the proposed $1.1bn sale of the .org registry to an unknown private equity firm, saying this was “the right thing to do.”

CNAME Cloaking

Romain Cointepas (Hacker News):

A suitable name for this method would be CNAME Cloaking, and it is used to disguise a third-party tracker as first-party tracker. In this case, they are also purposely obfuscating this behind a random subdomain, with a CNAME to a generic and unbranded domain.

With CNAME Cloaking, many problems arise that makes it realistically impossible to block this:

  1. Browser extensions are not allowed access to the DNS layer of the request — i.e., they can’t see the CNAMEs.
  2. When each website loads third party trackers by calling something like, privacy-protection tools now have to figure out which subdomain is a front for CNAME Cloaking, for tens of thousands of websites. […]
  3. With each website now having its own subdomain cloaking the third-party tracker, those tools need to include as many rules as there are websites using this CNAME Cloaking method. Blocking a third-party tracker went from one rule to thousands.

And newer browsers have relatively low limits for the number of allowed rules.

See also: Wolfie Christl.

Update (2019-11-26): Jeff Johnson:

The endgame has to be disabling JavaScript.

As long as sites can execute arbitrary code in your browser, you’re doomed. Web programmers will continue to find more clever and evil hacks.

Howard Oakley:

I continue to be frustrated that, while most others things in Safari can be controlled by site, JavaScript is just a single control - on or off for everything.

Would it be too much to have finer control?

NVIDIA Drops CUDA Support for macOS

Alex Cranz (Hacker News):

The last vestiges of Nvidia and Apple’s long-term relationship are ending shortly. On Monday Nvidia published the release notes for the next update of its CUDA platform and noted that “CUDA 10.2 (Toolkit and NVIDIA driver) is the last release to support macOS for developing and running CUDA applications.” That means all future versions of CUDA will lack support for Apple devices, which could leave a decent share of the pro community, as well as the hackintosh community, without support for the most popular discrete GPUs being made at the moment.


But despite the reliance on AMD hardware Apple continued to support Nvidia GPUs. If you wanted to cram a Nvidia card into your older Mac Pro or rely on it for you hackintosh than Apple and Nvidia had you covered. Until last year when Apple quietly stopped support CUDA with the release of macOS 10.14 Mojave. That forced apps that relied on CUDA for hardware acceleration, like Adobe’s suite of software, to issue warnings and reminders to customers.


Apple Store Removes Customer Reviews

Amber Neely (Slashdot, Hacker News):

AppleInsider received a tip from a reader who had noted the buyer review section was missing on Apple’s online retail store page. The user also pointed out that the pages have been removed from U.S., U.K., and Australian Apple online stores, which suggests this is not simply a mistake, but rather an intentional move on Apple’s behalf.

The reviews were pulled over the weekend, though it’s not clear as to why this has happened. Apple had been known for leaving up even especially negative reviews, which demonstrated both transparency and integrity to their customers.

Chance Miller:

The Verge points out that it was not uncommon for Apple products and accessories to have unfavorable customer reviews through Apple’s online store. For example, Apple’s Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter had over 700 one-star reviews.

Presumably this was because customers were mad that newer iPhones need such an adapter, not because the adapter itself didn’t work. On the other hand, the Lightning video adapters have been widely reported to not be reliable. And the extended Magic Keyboard is well regarded but had lots of critical reviews because of its bending problem.