Interview: Rod Beckstrom on the TLD Application System bug

Kevin Murphy
April 30, 2012
Analysis

The following is a lightly edited transcript of an interview between DI PRO and ICANN president and CEO Rod Beckstrom that took place on Sunday, April 29, 2012.

Speaking for the first time since April 12, when ICANN took its TLD Application System offline due to a security bug, Beckstrom addresses the efforts ICANN is making to bring the system back online and discusses the possible timing for the Big Reveal of new gTLD applications.

He also gives some insight into the background of the bug, ICANN’s efforts to test TAS before it went live, ducks questions about the full impact of the problem, and explains why ICANN made the decision to pull the plug on TAS April 12.

Do you have any information that hasn’t been already disclosed in ICANN’s daily updates that you’re happy to discuss now?

Yes there is. For example, I’m going to share the fact that, first as CEO I take full responsibility for the resolution of this issue. And it’s very much my hope… let me just state this: we know this affects applicants, we know it affects various parties and causes concern and causes anxiety because the system is down for a period of time, but we did this because we believe it was the proper thing to do for the safety and security of the program.

As CEO I’d like to see us obviously get the technical issues resolved, notify applicants, reopen the window and publish the strings before I pass the baton in Prague. That’s not a commitment at this point in time, it’s an indication as CEO that it’s absolutely my intention to push for a timely resolution of this issue.

Is that a likely time-line, that we won’t get the Big Reveal until Prague?

I’m not going to commit on probabilities, I think that’s a possibility, what I’m mentioning is my commitment to push this thing forward, providing we can ensure the quality, and try to get things wrapped up by that time. If we can get things done sooner then the sooner the better.

What’s the hold-up?

There are two major streams that are involved here. One is dealing with the software glitch and also software performance enhancements we want to do. The second one has to do with the data analysis and notifying the affected parties.

On the software glitch side we have identified the bug, we believe we have fixed the bug, we have conducted tests and we cannot get the bug to reappear. So we believe the system is stable but we are continuing to test because that’s what we need to do to develop further confidence in tge reliability the of system in this specific aspect. We’re also looking at some very specific changes to enhance system performance. That’s the technical side, on that side the bug’s been fixed we’re in testing mode on that and we’re still evaluating the performance side, which performance tuning choices we need to make.

Why not reopen TAS now and conduct the audit simultaneously?

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