Tuesday, April 22, 2008

McCotter Bill Fights Illegal E-mail and Cell Phone SPAM

WASHINGTON D.C. – Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), House Republican Policy Chairman, has authored a bill to help fight unsolicited electronic mail, spam, in America’s inboxes and cell phones. HR. 5717, known as “Inform and Deter Spam Act” or “ID Spam Act” will strengthen the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) ability to capture illegal spammers. It establishes a fund to prosecute spam case and also provide rewards to individuals who help identify and prosecute them.

“Spam is an irritating intrusion into Americans’ lives. Billions of spam messages infiltrate our personal inboxes infested with scams, frauds, attempts to steal our identities, images corrupting our children, and viruses aimed at damaging our computers.”

“Because computer technology is advancing so quickly, the Federal Trade Commission does not presently possess every necessary tool to stop spam. The ID SPAM Act will strengthen their ability to protect internet users and catch and convict illegal spammers,” said McCotter.

The ID Spam Act would implement some of the FTC’s recommendations and complies with the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act.

The ID Spam Act would allow the FTC to establish a fund to prosecute spam cases.  The FTC would have the authority to issue a reward no greater than $100,000 to individuals who help the FTC identify and prosecute high value, illegal spammers.  To be eligible for the reward, the informant would have to cooperate fully with the FTC and their information must lead to a civil judgment in the case.  Additionally, under the ID Spam Act all assets seized as part of a civil judgment would be returned to the spam fund.

The problems with SPAM:

*Spam’s new focus is identity theft, a scheme known as “phishing,” aimed at obtaining a recipient’s personal information. About 43% of the population has been targeted by phishing, costing consumers an estimated $1.2 billion in 2003. Experts believe “phishing attacks represent a collaboration of the world’s most skilled hackers and organized crime.”

*Pornographic spam hurts children. 1 in 5 children have received unwanted sexual solicitation e-mails in the past year. 20% of these children were “very or extremely upset” about receiving these messages. Over 67% of the unwanted exposure occurred at home.

*Scams via spam are rising. In 2007 Americans reported more then $240 million in losses in connection to internet crime.

*Spam is a burden and raises cost. Spam shifts the burden of cost on the receiver and the internet service provider. Recipients are forced to may more for a less efficient internet. Spam slows down message delivery and accessibility for all by usurping resources from legitimate service.

*Spam is bad for the economy costing U.S. business over $10 billion in 2003. It hurts businesses by making users less productive and forces companies to use resources to combat spam.

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