Canadian regulator questions .bank top level domain name.
There are many challenges to introducing new top level domain names. International norms certainly play a part, such as issues over morality.
But who would have thought .bank would create controversy, especially from from a bank regulator?
For background, a group of financial organizations has suggested that a .bank top level domain name might help reduce phishing and instill confidence. Only real banks that meet stringent requirements would be able to register a .bank domain name, thus reassuring the public that a .bank web site is not a phishing scam. (Yes, there are problems with that theory, but we’ll ignore them for argument’s sake.)
Apparently not all bank regulators agree. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada (OSFI) has sent a letter (pdf) to ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom saying that it might undertake an effort to work against .bank’s credibility as a safe web address for banking.
Under Canada’s Bank Act, any bank that is not regulated by OSFI cannot use the word “bank” to indicate or describe a financial services business in Canada. OSFI says that anyone found in violation of the Bank Act would be asked to relinquish their .bank domain name or they would be guilty of a criminal offense.
OSFI said that, if a .bank TLD is introduced, it may use its resources to educate Canadians to “fully understand the value that can be placed on a .bank gTLD”.