Thursday, September 24, 2009

Swedish Government Bans the Word "Bank" from .SE Domains

A major uproar has been brewing in Sweden over a recent government ruling banning the word "bank" from any Swedish domains that do not fit the official definition of a financial banking institution. (Basically * On Thursday The Pirate Bay pledged it's support joining in the protest against the Swedish Post- and Telecoms Authority (PTS) The list has since started growing by hundreds of names per hour. It is run by the web host Binero to protest against the PTS decision to subject all Swedish se-domain names containing the word “bank” to an inspection prior to registration. This to insures that anyone that might be confused with a bank actually fulfills the legal requirements for one. It is a departure from international standards, where issues are solved, usually by a Uniform Dispute Resolution Process (UDRP) once they arise after registration.

The big concern isn't specifically about the word bank so much as it sets a precedent for other words in the future. Think about if words such as cloud or science or music require official approval by a government agency before you could register the domain.

The Swedish Bankers’ Association have lobbied for restrictions on domain names for a long time, making an interpretation of the Swedish law mandating that anyone using “Bank” as a name in their business must fulfill the requirements of one.

Their arguments is that the banks have not been able to show evidence of fraudulent “bank”-sites, that typosquatting would not be stopped, whereas many Swedes would have a more difficult time registering, that scrutinizing new businesses before domain registration would be injust and, above all, that the approval of name scrutinization prior to registration would spread to many other names; titles protected by law, names of public authorities, brands, racist words etc.

“To diverge from the democratic country norm of problem resolution post rather than pre registration, and to do it for a common word and name like “Bank” is dangerous. It makes it legally and logically plausible for many groups to lobby for scrutinizing an unforeseeable number of other words and names pre registration as well,”said Binero CEO Anders Aleborg, continuing:

“All countries have the same problem and lobby groups like our big banks. There is a big risk that this form of net censorship might spread if Sweden does it.”


For more information:

Anders Aleborg, CEO, Binero, +46 768-04 42 00, [email protected]

Erik Arnberg, Marketing Manager, Binero, +46 70-398 75 34, [email protected]

Swedish Government IT-advisor Patrik Fältström (Paf) blog:

.SE home page re: this:

PTS English home page: (Swedish):

Press pictures, Anders Aleborg,

Binero AB is a web host and registrar with the ambition of being the friendliest in Sweden; transparency, honesty and friendliness.
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