Earlier this week, ICANN a global domain name regulator has admitted guilt for mistakenly publishing full contact details for those who applied for gTLD or generic top-level domain. As part of a prominent event in London last Wednesday, ICANN publicly exposed the list of almost 2,000 requested top-level domains together with the applicants’ names. Although they ensure to cut any personal information in the applicant guidebook, still it advertised the applications on their website as they forgot to revise some of these contact details. Home addresses for the primary and secondary contacts of the applicants was the example of details that was accidentally revealed.
Earlier this year, ICANN decided to broaden gTLDs to grant custom domain suffixes and they started in accepting some applicants. The existing system acquires 21 gTLDs that includes some particular country suffixes, .org, .net and .com. With the use of other scripts like Chinese and Cyrillic and some generic words such as .bank and .shop, the elaborated system will support TLDs. As part of the bid procedure, applicants signed up an inclusive application and paid a fee which costs $185,000. In a statement, ICANN confessed and apologized for the lapses and they cleared that the details in those fields did not plan to reveal in public. ICANN gathered almost 1930 bids from various organizations, it includes some giant brands like the Amazon, Canon and even Google, apart from that groups like the Better Business Bureau and the AARP were also included in that bid.
Even though the volume of the applicants was located in the North America, the bids came from all over the globe. As ICANN recognized that the contact details was open to anyone who viewed the public section of its gTLD site, the section of the site was disabled for a while to eliminate the information, late Thursday when the access was being restored. In a statement, the group has announced that they finally removed the information that has been publicized and the new gTLD applications in the public section have been fixed and re-established in the ICANN website. It serves as the second privacy mistake in part of the gTLD application process of ICANN. The new gTLD system was announced last March however, because of a software error which permitted applicants to look at associated filenames and some usernames of other applicants the system has been down for almost six weeks.
ICANN said in a statement that the issue arises from the deletion of file attachments that resulted in the TLD application system being disconnected. The deadline was extended to April 20 to May 30 because of the downtime. The new TLD system will cause confusion with their consumer and it will intensify cyber squatting through which scammers can purchase domains and intentionally sell it for profit or leads to creating unethical sites. A trademark and domain name attorney with a US law firm Venable, Janet Satterthwaite said that the recent practice of fraud registering company names and brands in other TLD system will remain. Companies should continue to do preventive registrations to register their brands with the new domain. Within nine months to a year, ICANN will handle and check out applications in batches of 500 and between April and June 2013, the first new domains are apprehended to go live.