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Benefit seekers offered Internet porn shows

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18:51 CEST+02:00
The Swedish Social Insurance Administration handles the mundane but necessary business of dealing with state benefits to the sick, pregnant and retired. But visitors to the organization's site could have been forgiven for believing that it had a far more exotic purpose, after its web address was hijacked and redirected to a hard core porn site.

The organization is known in Swedish as Försäkringskassan, and uses the web address www.forsakringskassan.se. It recently became possible to register domain names containing the Swedish letters å, ä and ö, something that Försäkringskassan's bosses thought they had done.

But visitors to www.försäkringskassan.se found that instead of information about social insurance they were offered a choice of paying to see ‘Fetish', ‘Hardcore', ‘Ethnic' or ‘Amateur' movies.

“I found out when I started getting calls from journalists,” said Försäkringskassan's spokesman Robin Lapidus to The Local.

“We've spent all afternoon trying to get the site down.”

Now the II Foundation, which oversees registration of all .se domain names, has said it was to blame for the mistake, which it put down to a clerical error.

The problem was caused when Försäkringskassan said it no longer wanted to pay to keep the misspelt domain name försäkringskasan.se, but the foundation accidentally deregistered the wrong address. Then in September, a company based in southern Sweden registered försäkringskassan.se.

“I'm not entirely sure how long it was up for, but I think it was just today,” said Lapidus.

“We are very sorry for what happened, and have put it down to human error” said Danny Aerts, CEO of the II Foundation.

“It's a shame that errors like this are immediately seized on by domain pirates. This case put a new focus on how easy it is for web addresses that are similar to official addresses to be used by hoaxers.”

“We're going to review our routines to stop something like this happening in the future,” he said.

Lapidus said he was satisfied with the way the II Foundation dealt with the issue after being alerted on Monday afternoon. The address now redirects to Försäkringskassan's official website.

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