Privacy gaffe discovered in Internet address bids

Associated Press Modified: June 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm •  Published: June 15, 2012
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NEW YORK (AP) — The organization in charge of introducing new Internet addresses to rival ".com" briefly suspended access to some of the documents on its website after a privacy gaffe.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers said it had mistakenly published the postal addresses of some individuals — information that was meant to be private. The disclosure was limited to cities and countries in some cases, while full street addresses appeared in others.

The discovery came late Thursday, a day after ICANN revealed nearly 2,000 proposals for new Internet suffixes, including ".joy," ''.barefoot" and ".google." It will be the largest expansion of the Internet address system since its creation in the 1980s.

ICANN posted documents with the proposals to allow the public to comment and raise objections. The documents include bidders' plans for the new names and full contact information for the businesses involved, but they were supposed to list only phone and email information belonging to individuals.

ICANN restored those documents after removing the postal addresses on individuals. It was not immediately clear how long that took; the documents appeared to be inaccessible for no more than a few hours. ICANN did not immediately respond to requests for more information Friday.

This spring, ICANN had to suspend access to its system for letting bidders submit proposals after it discovered technical glitches that exposed some private data. That took more than a month to fix and restore. ICANN also goofed during Wednesday's announcement. It displayed Arabic names left to right rather than right to left, as the language is written.



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