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Oops! Cock-up reveals ICANN survey respondent emails

Kevin Murphy, November 1, 2014, 17:15:05 (UTC), Domain Policy

An ICANN contractor accidentally revealed the email addresses of almost 100 people who responded to a survey related to a review of the Generic Names Supporting Organization.

An invitation to participate in a follow-up survey was sent out to respondents today with all the email addresses in the To:, rather than BCC:, field.

Westlake Governance, which is conducting the survey for ICANN, quickly sent an apology:

We have been sending invitations in batches, and regret that we included your address in the only set of invitations that was copied inadvertently in the “To” line as addressee, rather than as a “Bcc.”

We sincerely apologise for this breach of our internal protocols and potentially of your privacy.

The misfire revealed that 15 out of the 98 listed respondents have @icann.org email addresses, suggesting roughly 15% of the responses came from ICANN staffers.

While the survey certainly anticipated responses from within the organization — one question gives “staff” as an option for the respondent to state their affiliation — some are not happy anyway.

Neustar vice president Jeff Neuman tweeted:

The massive, 93-question survey (pdf) was designed to kick-start the next cycle in ICANN’s interminable reviews of its policy-making bodies, in this case the GNSO.

The results of the survey will be used to inform a review of the GNSO’s structure, which could potentially re-balance power within the organization.

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