Oops — ICANN published the home addresses of new domain applicants

Whoops. It seems that the people over at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) accidentally included the home addresses of the people who applied for new top-level domains when they published the list of the applicants earlier this week.

The organisation received almost 2 000 applications for new generic top-level domains (GTLDs), which, once the process is completed early next year, will allow websites include more than the standard .com, .biz, .org, etc, in their web address. ICANN disabled the viewing of the page yesterday after reports of an “issue” with the application details. Shortly after that, it published another statement:

It has come to our attention that we have published the postal addresses of some primary and secondary contacts for new generic top-level domain applications. This information was not intended for publication. The addresses appeared as responses to portions of questions six and seven on the application.

They apologised for the oversight late yesterday, after removing the offending information and posting the application details publicly again.

It’s a quite unfortunate mistake for ICANN, especially because some of the applicants for new domain names include high level employees at companies like Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, who were told the information would remain private.

The decision to expand the list of gTLDs has also worried some critics, who fear that hundreds of new domains will increase the likelihood of fraud and the cost of running any website. Can you imagine owning a website, only to find your competitor has bought yourwebsitename.sucks? The increased domains could also lead to more security risks for online banking users, as they could be redirected to URLs which sound legitimate (.corp, .bank, .company) but are actually part of a phishing scam.

In an effort to ensure it didn’t receive thousands of frivolous applications, ICANN slapped a US $185 000 price tag on each application. But that didn’t stop companies from applying for some strange domains, including .dog, .ninja .lol and .unicorn.



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