FTC Slams State Laws As Making Children Less Safe From Spam

from the now-that's-obvious dept

Of the many government agencies out there, the FTC often seems like it has a much better grasp on technology issues that just about everyone else. After all, it was an FTC commissioner who first pointed out that almost any anti-spam law was unlikely to work, because the real definition of spam is “anything I don’t like”. The FTC also was the one who told eager politicians that a “do not email” list was only likely to be abused. So, it probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the FTC is telling various states that their new laws to set up a special “do not spam” registry for kids isn’t just a bad idea, it probably puts those kids at higher risk. The lists are set up in a way that any spammer can use it to figure out who the kids are and then target them directly. These spammers already don’t expect to get caught, so it’s not like the new law acts as a barrier in any way. It just lets them better target. Of course, this was all obvious a while back when these state laws first came about — but these are exactly the types of laws that politicians love to pass anyway. They’re “photo opp” laws — more about show than substance. The elected officials can announce that they’re helping to “protect our children” because that’s what the law says it does — even if the obvious consequences actually make things worse for kids.

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