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Banking Authority Jitters Over .BANK Domain Names

February 28, 2012

The European Banking Authority (EBA) is the latest body to express concerns over the expansion of domain name extensions - in particular, if the .bank extension ever became available.

After reviewing the envisaged new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) ending in '.bank' and '.fin', it has concluded there are "many supervisory concerns" surrounding operation of the proposed extensions and has written to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ( ICANN) to formally express its misgivings.

According to the EBA view, the greatest threat lies in the possibility for misuse by unscrupulous individuals given the mitigating measures proposed by ICANN fall short; in fact posing what the EBA says an immense risk.

"The risk for new types of fraud and phishing is enormous. The same can be said of the danger for confusion regarding the operation of legitimate websites by 'true' financial institutions and regulated entities."

"Any plans for their operation should ideally be discontinued," reads part of a statement published by the Authority. 

While consultation on new gTLD's has already finished; the EBA hopes ICANN will consider its views. The Authority has warned that should the rollout of .bank and .fin domain names go ahead, it would issue a consumer alert, warning the public of what it says are the risks of the new top level domains and urging due diligence in checking the credentials of web sites using them.

The European Banking Authority was established  by the European Parliament in 2010. From 2011, it took over  current and ongoing tasks and responsibilities from the Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS). The EBA's Board of Supervisors is comprised of heads of credit institutions in all EU Member States and in the European Economic Area.

The EBA's cover letter to ICANN can be viewed here (PDF) and the full document here (PDF)


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