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Interruption to ICANNs New gTLD application system
For the past two weeks the New gTLD application system has been down. Applicants have not been able to access their online account to submit documents. This has been met with a wave of criticism by firms who have paid vast sums of money to have a TLD application considered. However ICANN have been vigilant in keeping applicants up to date. They are clearly committed to ensuring that applicants’ data is safe and that the process is secure.
On 12th April the system was taken offline. ICANN have stated on their website that this was due to a “technical issue”. At the time there was much speculation as to what had happened and why the system was offline. ICANN later released a statement saying that “A technical issue in the system allowed a limited number of users to view a limited number of other users’ file names and user names in certain scenarios”. The issue occurred when the process of deleting an application in the system was interrupted. The only data that had been leaked to other users was user names and filenames. This highlights the tiny amount of data that has been revealed. The specific set of circumstances needed for the issue to occur highlight the need for applicants to stay calm and not panic.
ICANN have since published a series of FAQs on their website to ensure that applicants are kept fully informed on the issue and how it is being resolved. They are adamant that the system will not be reopened until the glitch is fixed and adequate testing has taken place to prevent any further issues.
An update on the issue will be given “no later than Friday 27th April” according to ICANN's FAQs. This may mean reopening the TAS application system or could be a status update to give applicants an idea of where ICANN are in the testing process. ICANN have also taken this time to make subtle changes and improvements to the system based on user feedback. This should increase system response times as increased numbers of applicants access the system to submit documents as the deadline looms. The announcement revealing which TLDs have been applied for has been postponed from 30th April. This gives applicants enough time to process any documents they need to before ICANN reveal what New gTLDs have been applied for and by which organisations.