ICANN mocks the California Attorney General

ICANN is mocking the California Attorney General in a letter submitted on January 31, 2020.

ICANN’s attorneys (Jones Day) replied to the letter from California Attorney General (Xavier Becerra) on the 23rd of January regarding the .ORG change of control.

The attorney replying to the letter is Jeffrey Rabkin. Jeff joined Jones Day from the Office of the Attorney General (AG) in the California Department of Justice, where he was a member of the AG’s executive team and Special Assistant Attorney General for Law and Technology (2013-2015).

I will leave you digest that and give some details about the letter.

So why is the letter a mockery? Here is why:

  1. The letter provides materials to only 11 of the 35 requests made by the Office of the California Attorney General.
  2. All material provided is publicly available. I guess ICANN thinks that the Attorney General can’t Google a few PDFs?
  3. No material not publicly available was provided by ICANN. I even wonder if ICANN worked with this attorney preparing this letter.
  4. The letter provides links to these materials instead on providing the PDFs.
  5. 13 of the 30 links provided are broken. Clicking on them will NOT take you to the correct page. Instead you get to a 404 page not found. You need to copy and paste the links in your browser.
  6. Broken links include the page of the ICANN board of directors and the ICANN conflict of interest policy webpage.
  7. Some of the Attorney General requests are not simply answered with a link. The attorney seems to only want to bury the Attorney General in PFDs instead of providing clear and precise info.
  8. Non of the contact information of the ICANN board of directors was provided. Just their names from the ICANN website. (#34 from the OAG letter)
  9. The Attorney General requested PIR’s unredacted response to ICANN’s request for additional information regarding the acquisition of PIR by Ethos Capital. Instead the Attorney General received the redacted version that is publicly available and ICANN said: “ICANN intends to produce the nonpublic version of this document following its compliance with its contractual obligations to PIR.” (#5 from the OAG letter)
  10. I believe that a lot of information is missing even from these 11 requests (out of 35) that ICANN provided responses to. ICANN and this attorney seems to even imply this: “Likewise, while we have endeavored to give you a broad overview of responsive, publicly available information, there may be additional public information responsive to your requests. To the extent we identify such materials, we will supplement this list of links in a future letter.”

In short this letter was a waste of time and mocks the California Attorney General providing partial and incomplete of the 11 requests in a badly composed letter. You don’t have to be an ICANN attorney or even an attorney to write such a letter.

And I am not even getting into the substance of the provided documents…

This whole think stinks from the beginning and it only gets worse by the day.

PIR questions Attorney General’s authority and denies extension to ICANN


About Konstantinos Zournas

I studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and I am now living in Athens, Greece. I went online in 1995, started coding in 1996 and began buying domain names and creating websites in 2000. I started the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.


  1. There was a second letter which may explain why the response was less than comprehensive.


    Seems they agreed mutually to do the disclosure in batches.

    • Konstantinos Zournas

      The response being less than comprehensive was only one point I made.

      “We will produce documents in unredacted form to the extent possible, though as we discussed some of the documents were sent to ICANN in redacted form and thus will still contain some redactions when we produce them to you.”
      This also shows that ICANN will make no effort to find the unredacted documents.

  2. The Internet is under siege and ICANN is the one creating all the issues. Can anyone come in and strip ICANN of it’s powers before it is too late? They gave evergreen contracts. Now they are removing their ability to set pricing. Their insiders are making back door deals and there is no accountability or oversight. ICANN is truly a mess and needs radical reform!

    • If only being able to say “I told you so” about removing US oversight was of any use now…

      • Konstantinos Zournas

        For the 100th time, no one in the US government cared. No one in the US cared until the Democrat California AG. If Trump wants it he can stop the deal in a second.
        Oversight or not Trump government doesn’t care.

      • And I will say something for the “nth” time too. With US oversight, nothing could have been done under the radar till it’s virtually too late, as it has now. Not even price cap removal, let alone this wicked deal. And even though some in the US either still would not have cared, or worse would have wanted it to happen, it could not have been “politically feasible” to allow any of it to happen.

        But honestly – embarrass me – please. I’m serious. Tell me what it is you believe Trump could do to stop this, because as a lifelong resident here in the US I really don’t know what that is and would love to know.

      • Konstantinos Zournas

        John, the base registry agreement changed under the so called US oversight. All this started years ago and we slowly came where we are today after years of apathy.
        So please cut the bullshit.

        You figure it yourself what a Trump can do to stop this. But I guess you want to play dumb and continue with US oversight hypothetical narative. He just says “stop this” to ICANN and everyone starts dancing to his tune.

      • You are definitely wrong about me. I say what I mean and mean what I say.

        The base agreement was changed for “new gTLDs,” not ostensibly to pull this “fast one” now underway with legacy gTLDs after the “transition” from US oversight.

        I never “play dumb” and there is no bullsh*t here. But I make a point of pointing out when others do that.

        I know how everything ends, as do many others, and I know that God hates lying, all the evil this world has ever known began in association with lying (Genesis 3), and *this* is where lying ends up when it’s all over: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+22%3A15&version=NASB.

        Don’t think I’m being nationalistic by using the “New American Standard” version there, by the way. I only do that because it is regarded as the most literal translation of its kind and would use any other that was considered to be more so.

        So no, Konstantinos – not only do I not know what someone like Trump can do now after the great “transition” from US oversight, but I am also not convinced ICANN would just step in line if he were to try. Maybe that is so, maybe not, but right now I’m still not feeling it or convinced. I’m open minded and would love to be convinced of that, but I’ve already posted elsewhere that as far as I’m concerned it is also certainly true he is no friend of the “common man” or “the little guy” about such things. So I will say it again and don’t mind doing so – nothing would ever have been “feasible” – politically – under US oversight, even with a theoretical or hypothetical Trump that would normally have even wanted to allow everything going on now to occur.

      • Konstantinos Zournas

        No John, this is where it all started.
        New gTLDs should have had a different base agreement in the first place. No premiums, no arbitrarily price increases, no reserved domains, no nothing.
        This started this mess back in 2012.

        Maybe you need to explain what would have happened under the so called ICANN US oversight (IANA oversight to be precise) and why it is not happening now? How come the AG is doing something when all others do nothing? Where is the US government now? You think they do nothing because of the US oversight removal but you dead wrong. They like what is happening.
        What do you mean that politically would not be feasible? Politically the US government ignores the issue that that would change with this so called US oversight.
        Why was the price increase granted to Verisign by this US government?

        Also, I am very sorry but ONLY US companies and US investors are involved in this mess. I wonder why that is… Maybe because this US oversight handed over the internet to US companies?
        Is this maybe what drove the movement to get rid of the US oversight? Do you think that the US will go against US companies controlling the internet? Would they ever mandate a public tender and allow a Russian or Chinese company to control .com?

      • And I’ll say it another way: continued US oversight meant that even if US presidents themselves don’t care, or worse – even want the worst case scenario to occur, they couldn’t get away with doing or allowing any of it politically. Removing US oversight is what made all that possible.

      • Konstantinos Zournas

        Politically they don’t give a shit. US oversight or not. You are probably thinking of a different president and a different political party.

      • It seems that you don’t really get what I’m saying. Maybe things are different in Greece.

        I’m confident Trump not only doesn’t “give a shit” too, but may even be glad about what is happening. After all, billionaire and multi-millionaire Republicans are associated with the .org take over. And I’m confident many politicians both Republican and Democrat don’t “give a shit” either.

        If US oversight had been preserved, however, they all would have to “give a shit” whether they want to or not, both Republican and Democrat. The overall political price to pay for not “giving a shit” would be far too great from the public backlash and uproar. That’s what it means when something is not “politically feasible.” The end of formal and official US oversight gave those in power who would not “give a shit” the political cover they need to escape ever having to pay a political price for not “giving a shit” and allowing or even supporting bad things like this to happen.

        And if you still need or want clarification, maybe Theo/Acro can speak with you – whether he agrees with what I’m saying or not. Even if he doesn’t agree with what I’m saying, I’m sure he can at least explain it to you, because in all candor it seems you don’t really get what I’m referring to. He speaks Greek, and I suppose you guys are well acquainted. And like I said, maybe the real problem is that things work so differently in Greece that perhaps you just can’t relate by your own experience to what I’m talking about. But that is how it works here. No matter how much Trump or any Republican or Obama or any Democrat wanted to allow what has been going on to occur, they could never have allowed it under formal and official US oversight because of “political feasibility.”

      • Konstantinos Zournas

        I get what you saying 100%.
        But you are just imagining a “political price”. People don’t know or ever cared of an US oversight. No backlash would have existed just as they none now. Exactly the same. You are living in an imaginary alternate universe where someone gave a shit. They would not. Do you understand what I am saying?
        “political feasibility.” means nothing!!! Hahaha…
        NOTHING WOULD HAVE HAPPENED!!! Have you watched the news?
        Trump does whatever the f*ck he wants in much larger issues.
        I know much more about US politics than the average US citizen.
        I don’t appreciate you patronizing me so I will not reply to you again.

      • I don’t patronize people. At some point, however, it became impossible to not point out how it just honestly appeared that you didn’t really know what I was talking about based on what you were saying. That’s not being patronizing, just being honest about an honest impression. Nonetheless, I also already realized there was the risk and likelihood of this very type of reaction, because in all honesty as well it has long been apparent to me you have something of a pride and ego streak, perhaps the phrase “chip on one’s shoulder” is also applicable. So if you really do know what I was talking about, good. Then I simply disagree with your assessment. Despite appearances, Trump cares plenty about political price and political feasibility. The reality, is that he can act on much “larger issues” and get away with certain extreme things politically. It does not necessarily follow, however, that the same can be said for much “smaller” issues, and it doesn’t. Under US oversight the proposed .org takeover and price cap removals would have resulted in heavy waves and rumblings from various interested parties influencing various politicians, along with media coverage, unlike how everything has been able to be kept mostly under the radar till the last minute without US oversight now. And everyone in government all the way up to Trump can simply say they no longer have the authority to do anything even if they wanted to. So we disagree about all that.

  3. Just noticed – for some reason, I never saw this one above: https://onlinedomain.com/2020/02/10/domain-name-news/icann-mocks-the-california-attorney-general/#comment-432471.

    We largely agree there. That’s my point. Yes – we are full of extreme corruption and evil here, no doubt PLENTY of people here are now glad about what’s been happening, maybe or probably even Trump himself, and would never have wanted to stop it. Still having formal and official “US oversight” in place would have made that impossible DESPITE any evil desires and intentions on their part. Losing and removing the oversight made it politically feasible and gave them all the political cover and “price-exemption” they need to let it all happen.

    And again, I don’t mind saying it again either.

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