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FTC Can’t Cope With Offshore Spammers

Spammers can now target someone's computer in a different country. This had happened with Cindy Carman, three years back. spammers stationed at Australia and New Zealand hacked the Internet domain name of Carman's family business and used it as a passage to send their illegal spam messages. Recipients of the messages fired back Carman with angry notes, which eventually resulted in her revenue decline. Those spammers were, however, identified and caught. But against each victory there are fifty cases where the spammers escape and don't get caught. Such is said by Maneesha Mithal, assistant director for 'International Consumer Protection' at the 'Federal Trade Commission'.

Spam is the practice of delivering numerous unsolicited e-mails that advertise false items or mislead claims. The FTC warned junk mailers of legal action against them if they mislead people. While the FTC can take action against spammers trying to make illegal money, the agency has no control over people who advertise legal products through bulk e-mail.

Breaking spam has been rarely successful. This is because although many states apply anti-spam measures, spammers argue that they cannot make out if certain recipients of their e-mails live in a state where junk e-mail is banned.

The FTC has adopted civil action against illegal spammers. But FTC has a loophole that prevents its investigators form discussing information with other countries. Thus it is difficult for the agency to punish spammers who distribute spyware and are located in different parts of the world, having set up separate homes, bank accounts and servers.

FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz said that FTC needed to work with its sister agencies in other countries to give them all the related information. He also mentioned the reluctance on the part of consumer protection agencies in other countries to provide confidential investigative information to FTC because it would become available to the public through the 'Freedom of Information Act'.

If FTC can trace and pursue spammers who disguise their addresses, then there could be a huge curtailment in the amount of spam. For, spammers will either have to disclose their true identity or be fetched by the feds.

Related article: FTC Reaches Million-Dollar Settlement For Spyware

» SPAMfighter News - 8/31/2006

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