Financial Top Level Domain Initiative
• On June 20, 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization that determines policy for the Internet’s domain name system, approved a program to create new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs). There are currently 23 gTLDs and these include .com, .net and .org. By 2014, thousands of new gTLDs could be introduced into the Internet environment. [www.icann.org]
• On December 12, 2011, fTLD Registry Services, LLC (fTLD) (www.ftld.com) was formed by The Financial Services Roundtable and the American Bankers Association to apply to operate gTLDs to serve the global financial services community and other communities that would benefit from any gTLDs fTLD is awarded.
• ICANN accepted applications for new gTLDs, which could encompass any kind of name such as .music, .bank, .gap or .google, from January 12 through May 30, 2012. On May 24, 2012, fTLD submitted applications to ICANN to operate the .bank and .insurance gTLDs. On June 13, ICANN published a list of all gTLD applicants.
• Any gTLDs awarded to fTLD will operate under strict registration, eligibility and security standards. The Roundtable and ABA developed 31 Elevated Security Standards and these will be implemented to operate safe, secure, and resilient gTLDs. Restricting registrations in .bank and .insurance to anyone but legitimate members of the banking and insurance services communities will ensure consumers know who they are dealing with in this highly protected Internet space.
• Historically, BITS opposed ICANN’s expansion of gTLDs for sensitive strings like financial domains, based on concerns about cost, potential increases in malicious Internet activities, consumer confusion, and issues for brandholders. However, when it became clear ICANN would continue with the gTLD expansion, the Roundtable, through BITS, its technology division, partnered with the ABA to assess the impact of new gTLDs on the financial sector and to determine how to address the potential issues of cost, security and customer confusion.
• In December 2011, BITS and the ABA submitted Proposed Enhanced Security Standards to ICANN with a request that ICANN use the standards to evaluate the security level of applicants for financial gTLDs.
For more information:
– BITS Comment Letters to ICANN
– BITS/ABA Proposed Elevated Security Standards
– BITS/ABA Press Release