Glitch Prompts Delay in Internet Domain Name Reboot

April 13, 2012
ICANN temporarily suspends generic top-level domain applications to patch up potential info leak.

The Internet domain name revolution was put on hold April 13 due to an apparent flaw that let some aspiring applicants peek at unauthorized information at the registration website.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will resume taking applications on April 17 from those interested in running new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) online.

"We have learned of a possible glitch in the TLD application system software that has allowed a limited number of users to view some other users' file names and user names in certain scenarios," ICANN chief operating officer Akram Atallah said in a message posted at the organization's website.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we took the system offline to protect applicant data," he continued. "We are examining how this issue occurred and considering appropriate steps forward."

ICANN in January began taking applications from those interested in operating Internet domains that replace endings such as .com or .org with nearly any acceptable words including company, organization or city names.

Outgoing ICANN president Rod Beckstrom has championed the change as a "new domain name system revolution."

The new system will allow Internet names such as .Apple or .IMF or .Paris.

ICANN says the huge expansion of the Internet, with two billion users around the world, half of them in Asia, requires the new names.

But more than 25 global bodies have expressed concern about the possible "misleading registration and use" of their names.

They fear it could cause confusion about their Internet presence and force them to spend huge amounts on "defensive registration" to stop cybersquatters, who buy up names and try to sell them at an inflated price, and fraudsters.

Registration costs $185,000 with a $25,000 annual fee after that.

ICANN insists, however, that safeguards are in place to protect names of established companies and groups. The original domain name application deadline of April 12 was extended to April 20.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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