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Censorship The Internet

Swedish Regulators Ban Word "Bank" In Domain Names For Non-Banks 175

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the nanny-state-to-the-rescue dept.
It seems that Swedish regulators have decided to extend the requirement of not calling yourself a bank to the registration of domain names. Now anyone that tries to register a .SE domain name with the word "bank" in it will need to prove they are a legitimate bank. Hopefully there are no blood banks or anyone with the last name of "Banks" that might want a .SE domain. Here is a Google translation of the demand issued by the authorities to the .SE registry.
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Swedish Regulators Ban Word "Bank" In Domain Names For Non-Banks

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  • by kyz (225372) on Friday August 28, 2009 @02:44PM (#29234283) Homepage

    Let sweden register "bank.se" and offer subdomains only to valid banks.

    It works here in the UK - schools get .sch.uk, the police get .police.uk, etc., while we normal people get .plc.uk, .me.uk, .co.uk and so on.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Friday August 28, 2009 @02:45PM (#29234303) Journal
    So that explains why I couldn't reach www.BjörnsSpankBank.se and I'll have you know that I expect a full refund for the *cough* services that "Björn" failed to render. Thankfully www.BjörnsPörn.se is still up or I'd have to switch to Swiss or *shudder* German sites.
  • Also, sorry to the three or four Swedes out there that were going to launch individual websites to show off their antique piggy bank collections over the next decade.
  • That ought to do it! Thanks very much, Ray.
  • Sudden Outbreak... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheDarAve (513675) on Friday August 28, 2009 @02:46PM (#29234325)

    Of common sense. There should be some things allowed within reason though. I can think of a few things that have "bank" in them that would not ever be misinterpreted as being a bank.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Espcially since a lot of other meanings for bank [reference.com] came first. The original use of bank, in terms of elevation, came into use around 1150-2000 AD, while the bank that handles money didn't exist until 1425-1475 AD. Also, the original word can trace it's origins back to the swedish word, backe [google.ca], meaning hill.
      • by freakmn (712872)

        The original use of bank, in terms of elevation, came into use around 1150-2000 AD.

        I can probably narrow that slightly further, as I remember that being used in the 1980s. Perhaps you meant 1200 AD?

    • I can't help but wonder, what about having bnk or bnak or bakn in domain names? What about misspellings?

      This is stupid. This is why we need to create a dot-bank tld.

  • Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Wumpus (9548) <IAmWumpus AT gmail DOT com> on Friday August 28, 2009 @02:46PM (#29234327)

    Sperm banks? West Banks? Bankruptcy Help Club for Men? Anne Bankroft? (Yeah, I know...)

    • by xgr3gx (1068984)

      s/bank/repository/g

      Blood repository, sperm repository...etc.

      Although, it wouldn't be long before we start seeing 'MoneyRepositoryOfNigeria.com'
      1)Sign up for an online account
      2)Enter your current bank's name, web address, your id number and password
      3) Click submit to "transfer" your money from your old account to your new money repository account.
      It's that simple!

    • by AndersOSU (873247)

      clearly this is just another step in the international jewish banking conspiracy to stifle discussion of the situation in the west bank

  • Bummer (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stenchwarrior (1335051) on Friday August 28, 2009 @02:46PM (#29234329)
    I guess sperm banks will have to go by the next-most synonymous name: britneyspears.se
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 28, 2009 @02:47PM (#29234341)

    As long as they meet the reserve requirements.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Digestromath (1190577)
      Imagine having to audit their liquidity? I believe thier best practices for an audit involve lots of defrosting and shuddering by a third party accounting firm.
  • Sigh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday August 28, 2009 @02:48PM (#29234351)

    Sounds like their registration system is borked.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    seeks bankroll for sperm-bank expansion onto embankment.
  • It's a good thing you don't attach that to everything... oh, wait...

  • Edge cases (Score:4, Funny)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday August 28, 2009 @02:53PM (#29234439) Journal

    Hopefully there are no blood banks or anyone with the last name of "Banks" that might want a .SE domain

    The ban on the characters "B A N K S" in that order is obviously a thinly-veiled attack on Wolfram Alpha, particularly on Stephen Wolfram.

    As well all know, Stephen Wolfram is the man behind Wolfram Alpha, and also the man behind the "New Kind of Science" -- NKS.

    Also, as we all know, the ancient Egyptian word for soul is "Ba".

    Therefore, we can conclude that the controllers of the .SE domain have a vendetta against Stephen Wolfram, the soul behind NKS... the Ba-NKS.

    So who cares about the edge cases of blood banks or food banks or river banks or the purveyors of fine piggy banks. The real concern here is that there is a government conspiracy against a potential rival of Google... how deeply does Google have its claws sunk into European governments? When can be expect them to ban "Bing" from the url of any site that is not owned by either a registered wholesaler of a certain kind of cherry or a seller of outdated Christmas music?

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Friday August 28, 2009 @02:55PM (#29234463) Homepage Journal
    won't be making it to Sweden then :P
  • by Chysn (898420) on Friday August 28, 2009 @02:55PM (#29234467)
    ...the organization to ban Kabalism is out of luck.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 28, 2009 @02:55PM (#29234471)

    Who cares about the Swedes anyway. Norway is much better.

    • by RayMarron (657336)

      A moose once bit my sister.

      • by iluvcapra (782887)

        No, really! She was carving her name on the moose with an interspace toothbrush borrowed from her dentist Ole...

        I fear this reference tests even the edge of slashdot pop culture knowledge.

  • Rob A. Bank (Score:3, Informative)

    by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Friday August 28, 2009 @02:59PM (#29234531) Homepage Journal
    A friend of mine is named Robert A. Bank or "rob a bank". It's true. Good thing he isn't Swedish.
  • by a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) on Friday August 28, 2009 @03:00PM (#29234545) Homepage Journal

    There are over 2000 domains with "bank" as part of their name in the .se-domain - most of them are not banks in the traditional we-take-care-of-your-money banks. One example is platsbanken.se which is the national goverment register of open jobb.

    And strangely enough some of the real big banks don't use bank in their domain name.

    I know from several involded in the NIC .SE they dont like this at all and intend to fight it. Actually this is something that has been pushed by the banks for several years but became more prominent because of well-published fishing-scams against the banks - which actually managed to steal some money. The 'fun' part is that the fishing attempts didn't use .se domain names but domain names in other TLDs.

    Tracing who created an .SE domain is easier then for other TLD so we probably will never see anyone trying to use the .SE TLD for fishing scams against the banks. So PTS - the national post and telphone goverment overseer - are pushing an agenda that won't really had help against the fishing attempts.

    So this is nothing that are decided - yet. It will be a battle between PTS and NIC .SE over who decide over domain names.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      YOu know, I ould ahve no problem witht here being a controlled , .econ . SO you need to prove your a fininacial insitution before getting on.
      Change 100,000 for the initial sign up, then 1K a year.

      In fact, make the person deliver proof in person as part of the register.
      Make it where it's an annopying provess for the banks to start. that alone would keep the rif-raf down to a minimum.

      An entity can only get 1.

    • by sootman (158191)

      grep -ci bank /usr/share/dict/words
      77

      Minus 1 for 'bank' itself, that's still 76 unregisterable words. On top of all the other reasons this is retarded.

    • On top of that, I imagine there are valid words or phrases in Swedish in which "bank" might appear but would not refer to financial institutions. Using those words shouldn't be banned.

  • There is also the possibility that a domain name might have a combination of letters that could spell "bank". Something like turbankiosk.se.

  • by Kidbro (80868) on Friday August 28, 2009 @03:14PM (#29234745)

    The press release [www.pts.se] (Swedish) from PTS (the regulating body referred to) makes it clear that the word is banned unless for banks or if it is otherwise clear that the name in question can not lead to misunderstandings.

    A little more information than what you can get from the summary, TFA or the contentless blog rant TFA links to.

    • by julesh (229690)

      the word is banned unless for banks or if it is otherwise clear that the name in question can not lead to misunderstandings.

      In which of these perfectly reasonable proposed domain names is it clear that no misunderstandings are possible?

      westbank.se (a domain that might concern a region of a city that is divided by a river running north-south)
      bankright.se (a domain for pilots, named after something they do on a regular basis)
      bankonit.se (a domain concerning events that are considered likely to happen)
      cloudban

      • Well "bankonit.se" is pretty fishy, seeing that "bank on it" is meaningless in Sweedish. I suspect that some of your other examples probably break when subjected to the translation.

        • by julesh (229690)

          Well "bankonit.se" is pretty fishy, seeing that "bank on it" is meaningless in Sweedish. I suspect that some of your other examples probably break when subjected to the translation.

          I've seen quite a few Swedish-run web sites whose content and/or name is in English. Examples:

          * Name and content in English, but .se domain name: 1 [mockingbirdwishmeluck.se] 2 [guildnoremorse.se] 3 [safarionline.se]
          * Only name in English: 4 [greenandfree.se] 5 [kingsizemagazine.se]

          English usage is common in Sweden. Most Swedish people are able to speak the language, often very well. It's no surprise, therefore, that Swedish peop

    • by istartedi (132515)

      But, but... if we made it out to be no big deal, how would Slashdot generate all those page-views from posts complaining about their lack of ability to register leftbankcafe.se?

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      The press release (Swedish) from PTS (the regulating body referred to) makes it clear that the word is banned unless for banks or if it is otherwise clear that the name in question can not lead to misunderstandings.

      A little more information than what you can get from the summary, TFA or the contentless blog rant TFA links to.

      Spoilsport! everyone was having such fun, and you had to go and drag facts into it.

  • So what if I have a domain name promoting bankruptcy related legal services, or a travel website for Fairbanks Alaska, or snowbanking, etc. There's probably a huge list of things I haven't already thought of, but... it seems to not really address the problem with financial service website forgery. I doubt some identity thief will go "Well snap!, lets wrap it up boys, Sweden finally put an end to our tomfoolery!, the game is up!"

  • I've entrusted all my money with the good folks at citibenk.se, so I'm completely safe!
  • so...no sperm banks either?
    Or if your name is "banks" [wikipedia.org]?
    Or if you happen to be a particular brand of beer [wikipedia.org].

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Or want to talk about a place where water and and land meet.

    • by dwater (72834)

      but those thing *are* banks....a sperm bank *is* a bank...a member of the Bank family *is* a Bank...

      not sure about the beer...perhaps that one isn't a bank.

  • This seems ridiculous. My banks have the domain names "halifax-online.co.uk" and "egg.com"...
  • by geekoid (135745)

    bobeubanks.se for Bob Eubanks

  • Why is everyone assuming that they use the translation of the word bank in the same context as we do in English (such as in reference to a blood or sperm repository)? The Sweedish language isn't romantic based and doesn't share the same base or grammar. As a result, even with the influence of English on their society, I'm not any where near confident as a non-Swedish speaker that the language would even use the translation of "Bank" in the same manner we do in English. Native speakers could likely comment

  • "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."

    The spammers and the cybersquaters and those taking advantage of misspelled search parameters will simply get a little more creative to end-run the Swedes.
  • So no .se website for my favorite author then, I guess.
  • I wanted to make a Swedish fan site about the Jordell Bank observatory....

    Thanks Sweden!

    Durn do durn de bork bork bork!

  • ... no more Tyra Banks [tyrabanks.com].
  • They haven't banned the word bank. They've merely asked the registrar to highlight requests containing the word "bank" so that they can be checked for adherence to an existing law regarding portraying a company as a banking institution if it is not. Not how we would manage the system in the U.S. -- where consumer protection laws are more reactive than proactive compared to many European countries (not a judgment, just a fact) -- but hardly anything to get up in arms about.

    And not even close to what the orig

    • BTW, it's already fairly difficult to obtain a .se domain. Generally, they won't let anyone have one who doesn't have a Personnummer (personal number, Swedish equivalent to US SSN) or who can't prove they have a business or other legitimate concern in Sweden.

      • by jgrahn (181062)

        BTW, it's already fairly difficult to obtain a .se domain. Generally, they won't let anyone have one who doesn't have a Personnummer (personal number, Swedish equivalent to US SSN) or who can't prove they have a business or other legitimate concern in Sweden.

        Makes sense. Since I'm in .se, it's easy for me, and I wouldn't assume I could just go out and buy a .no, .uk, or .us domain -- that's what org/com are for. I thought tiny islands in the Pacific with funny names were the only ones which worked differen

        • It's much the same trying to get a .au domain. If you're not Australian or you don't have a business or other legitimate presence in Oz, you're probably not getting it.

          (I've lived in both countries, which is how I happen to know about them in particular.)

          OTOH, I have a .es domain which I purchased through Dotster. So it really depends on the country.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jgrahn (181062)

      They haven't banned the word bank. They've merely asked the registrar to highlight requests containing the word "bank" so that they can be checked for adherence to an existing law regarding portraying a company as a banking institution if it is not.

      Confirmed, in the original, untranslated PDF. They even point out (like a score of /.ers did) that the word "bank" has several meanings.

  • Aside from this even being fair or not, I wonder how effective this will be anyways? Off the top of my head, the only bank I can think of that has it in their URL is:

    www.bankofamerica.com

    However, there's also:
    www.wachovia.com
    www.wellsfargo.com
    www.citifinancial.com
    www.firstfederal.com
    www.htfcu.org

    and so on and so on. I'm sure that's just the tiniest subset of banks, and my reference point is from the US, but at least here, it doesn't seem all the common for banks to put the word "bank" in their URL anyways

  • company names (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaveGod (703167) on Friday August 28, 2009 @05:24PM (#29236337)

    When setting up a company in the UK your name is also restricted [companieshouse.gov.uk], though notably they do not include "bank" as sensitive, I assume in recognition of the variety of uses. The principle is a good one - people often assume an element of legitimacy to a limited company and assume they are somehow "approved". A limited company effectively makes a bargain with society: its investors enjoy limited liability but in return must conform to certain rules and make certain information public. Does any such bargain exist for domains?

  • Will no one think of the livestock?!
  • by macraig (621737) <(mark.a.craig) (at) (gmail.com)> on Friday August 28, 2009 @06:30PM (#29237195)

    Unless this denial is automatic and without recourse, having no allowance for human review or appeal, then the only problem I see here is yet another Slashdot article exaggerating the facts for the sake of copy.

  • The real aim of this move is obviously to suppress the "Ban Kleenex!" movement.

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