ICANN says sorry for leaking domain bidders' data

By Fahmida Y. Rashid on Jun 18, 2012 2:52 PM
Filed under Communications

Admits security failure.

ICANN has apologised for inadvertently publishing full contact information of those who applied for a generic top-level (gTLD) domain earlier this week.

ICANN publicly revealed the list of nearly 2000 proposed top-level domains and the names of the applicants as part of a splashy event on Wednesday in London.

It published the applications on its website, but neglected to redact personal contact data, despite promising to do so previously. Details such as home addresses for the application's primary and secondary contacts were accidentally exposed.

Last summer, ICANN voted to expand gTLDs to allow custom domain suffixes, and began accepting applications earlier this year. The current system has 21 gTLDs, including .com, .net, and .org, and country-specific suffixes.

The expanded system would support TLDs using other scripts, such as Cyrillic and Chinese, and generic words, such as .shop and .bank. Applicants paid a $US185,000 fee and filled out a comprehensive application as part of the bid process.

"The information in these fields was not intended for publication," ICANN said in a statement. "We apologise for this oversight."

ICANN received 1930 bids from more than 1100 organisations, including big brands such as Google, Canon, and Amazon. 

ICANN temporarily disabled the section of its gTLD site revealing contact information of bidders once it realised the data was public. Access was restored late Thursday.

This is the second privacy misstep for ICANN in its gTLD application process. The submission system for the new gTLDs went live in March, but went offline for about six weeks due to a software glitch that allowed applicants to view the usernames of other applicants and associated filenames.

"ICANN's review of the technical glitch that resulted in the TLD application system being taken offline indicates that the issue stems from a problem in the way the system handled interrupted deletions of file attachments," ICANN said in a statement at the time.

The downtime forced it to extend the original deadline of April 12 to May 30.

ICANN will be processing and approving applications in batches of 500 and expects the process to take as long as nine months to a year. In cases where there are multiple applicants for the same gTLD, such as the 13 applications for .app, there will be a separate process to determine who wins control of the contested domain.

The first new domains are expected to go live sometime between April and June 2013.

This article originally appeared at scmagazineus.com

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ICANN says sorry for leaking domain bidders' data
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