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Winter 2007-10 New federal law to fight e-mail spam

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Number 66
Winter 2007


New federal law to fight e-mail spam


Public Law 109-455, signed by the president on December 22, 2006, bears the descriptive name of "Undertaking Spam, Spyware and Fraud Enforcement with Enforcers Beyond Borders Act of 2006," and intends to-well, do what it name says it will do.

Before you call learned counsel to inquire, yes, the name is another cute acronym:

Undertaking
Spam,

Spyware
And
Fraud
Enforcement

With
Enforcers
Beyond Borders

" US SAFE WEB." Get it? [And in case you doubt, the much taunted "USA Patriot Act" is an acronym too!]

Sharing gossip

If the USA Patriot Act gave us "Big Brother," US Safe Web allows him to share all the juicy tidbits with his foreign friends. This latter law specifically authorizes the Federal Trade Commission to share hush-hush information in its files regarding consumer protection matters with foreign governments, who must-needless to say-give their word that they will keep the information confidential. ("Hey, Vincenzo, get a hold of the Web site that this guy has been ogling at-ha, ha! But say you won't tell anyone-haw, haw!") The stated purpose of the provision is to assist friendly law enforcers in their fight against Internet fraud, spam, spyware and other maladies. Of course, this will be a share-and-share-alike deal. Big Brother will receive similar gossip from "Fratello Grande."

Besides sharing information, the FTC is also to conduct investigations to help our neighbors in their efforts. Again, this is to be a bilateral pact.

Shhh!

The FTC is to keep confidential the data that it receives from foreign countries. According to Congress, public disclosure would thwart sharing. The FTC may even seek a court order to prevent nosey civil righters and other perverts from finding out what is on file. It's called "protecting the confidentiality of FTC investigations." But what about, you may be wondering, other laws that actually PROTECT privacy? Remember the Right to Financial Privacy Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and other misguided legislation? No need to worry about those! US Safe Web authorizes the FTC to seek delays of required notifications.

"¡Odio al chota!"

Protection to whistleblowers (the hated "chota," in Puerto Rican Spanish) is also afforded. Squealers receive immunity from liability. [One of those got Leonardo Da Vinci in trouble in Renaissance Florence. He was allegedly horsing around with other young men. This being a family newsletter, we are unable to go into further detail.]

Banks, of course

The FTC has also been prescribed new, improved prying eyeglasses, and may give bank records the once-over in order to track the monetary proceeds of illegal Internet practices. The FTC is expected to trace fund transfers to the bad guys, recover the money and return it to the victims. Don't you feel safer already?

The FTC may also:

  • make criminal referrals,
  • freeze foreign assets with the help of the U.S. Department of Justice and
  • arrange for staff exchange programs with foreign governments.

Report to Congress

The FTC is to report back to Congress on how it has used its new powers and how the whole scheme has worked. With a Democrat-controlled Congress in power, hmm . . .


© 2007 Goldman Antonetti & Cordova, LLC

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