FTC Wants More Power To Fine Spyware Companies

from the a-little-punishment-could-be-useful dept

While the FTC has gone after some spyware/malware providers, they're somewhat limited by current laws over how much they can fine those companies. That's why we've seen stories of such firms getting fines that are a tiny fraction of the actual money they made. Now, the FTC is pushing Congress to change the laws to give the FTC the ability to actually punish these firms with large fines, rather than just being able to go after profits. The article linked here frames it as a debate over whether or not Congress should pass anti-spyware laws, but why can't the FTC use current laws concerning deceptive marketing techniques to punish these firms? Does it really need a special separate law that tries to define spyware?

Filed Under: fines, ftc, spyware


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  • identicon
    Jeff, 30 Oct 2007 @ 12:33am

    No thanks

    They don't need more power and I don't trust the FTC enough to want them to be able to determine what is or isn't spyware. Fuck that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mike F.M, 30 Oct 2007 @ 1:54am

    Agreed

    With everything you hear about the FTC, there is no way they should get more power, especially power granted specifically for them.

    A definition of 'spyware' for something like this would likely take a long time to be agreed upon, so I reckon we won't hear anything more on this for a while.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ryan, 30 Oct 2007 @ 4:50am

    A better idea

    Why don't they just publish the owner's names and addresses and let stressed-out computer techs do the punishing? I know I can think of a few things to do to the MyWebSearch guy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    WarOtter (profile), 30 Oct 2007 @ 5:09am

    Agreed to all

    I agree with everyone so far. The only way they should get more power is if they give it up somewhere else.

    And now a quote from bash.org:
    In a perfect world... spammers would get caught, go to jail, and share a cell with many men who have enlarged their penisses, taken Viagra and are looking for a new relationship.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2007 @ 5:50am

    cool

    I like the idea of strong Anti-spy ware laws. but more than one organization should have control.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2007 @ 6:16am

    I'm surprised the spyware companies haven't figured out how to get by without FCC scrutiny. All they have to do is make large donations to Republican candidates and they won't be touched. Work it right and they'll get a nice big federal subsidy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous of Course, 30 Oct 2007 @ 10:24am

      Re:

      Those evil republicans!

      I'm glad the party that brought us
      such fine fellows as Huey P Long
      and splendid organizations like the
      KKK, not to mention the dixiecrats,
      is not susceptible to such bribery.

      Both parties are more crooked than
      a dog's hind leg and care for nothing
      except increasing their own power.
      That means pandering to special
      interests on both sides.

      There are exceptions on both sides of
      the isle. But as a rule, politicians
      are whores.

      Go peddle your BS troll elsewhere.


      As for the FTC, if they would use the
      powers they already have towards some
      positive effect I'd support their request.
      As it is this sounds more like an excuse.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Overcast, 30 Oct 2007 @ 6:57am

    With everything you hear about the FTC, there is no way they should get more power, especially power granted specifically for them.

    100% Agree - since when has the government really 'fixed' anything? By saying fixed - I mean, made it better, not fixed as in 'scam', lol

    Welfare? Levees in New Orleans? Healthcare?

    The free market (SpyBot, Firefox - AdBlock/NoScript, Symantec, AVG) has done FAR FAR more in dealing with spy ware than the government could ever possibly do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Hulser, 30 Oct 2007 @ 8:14am

    why can't the FTC use current laws concerning deceptive marketing techniques to punish these firms?

    That's a very good question. The knee jerk answer is that "they're a bunch of idiots". But I wonder what really motivates an organization in the FTC's position to "require" a new law that is so specifically targeted? My guess is that it's CYA. If the FTC charged spammers under existing laws, there'd be a risk that whatever judge got the case would find that the current laws don't apply. So then the FTC, indirectly at least, would be responsible for setting a precedent that current laws don't apply to spammers. So, before a government organization, which is inherently conservative, would move ahead on something like this, they want a clear mandate.

    Personally, I would think the current consumer laws would hold up as applying to spam, but looking at the overall situation, I can at least see some reason for why the FTC wouldn't want to follow this path.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • FTC's past actions show their power

    Kevin Trudeau - Fined by the FTC for misleading advertising selling his weight loss books. Back in business as usual and now selling Natural Cures book and again, the FTC is trying to stop him.

    Blue Hippo - (Computer Finance Company) FTC can't stop this company that does not send computers to customers that have paid. It takes the Maryland Attorney General to sue them and then they only have to pay a $300,000 fine (after taking in millions) and a promise to take care of past complaining customers.

    Just 2 examples of the power of the FTC. Bassically Zip.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wizard Prang, 1 Nov 2007 @ 12:23pm

    The F stands for FEDERAL...

    ...which means that any spyware/malware from outside the US falls outside their jurisdiction.

    Besides, aren't Spam and spyware already illegal in this country?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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