Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
anti-phishing, eff, free speech, senate, trademarks


Unnecessary Anti-Phishing Law Potentially Even Worse Than First Thought

from the totally-unnecessary-and-totally-damaging dept

Last month, we wrote about a bill proposed in the Senate that would outlaw phishing even though phishing is already illegal. If it merely restated that phishing was illegal, that would be one thing (a basic waste), but it also added some other points that were problematic, including taking away the right to anonymity in registering domain names. It turns out the bill may actually be much worse than that -- but it may depend on how it's read. The EFF has gone through the bill and claims that the bill would also outlaw the use of a trademark in a domain name. Thus, things like "sucks sites," which are currently legal, could now be considered illegal. The EFF also claims that it would not allow you the use of someone else's domain name in an email, web ad or on a website. As the EFF notes, if the domain name is used in a confusing manner, that's already a trademark violation. To completely ban it seems not just over the top, but dangerous. If you look through the text of the bill, it does seem to grant some leeway in determining what actually constitutes phishing, but it's certainly broad enough that the law can be abused. Considering that it isn't at all necessary since existing laws cover phishing, is there any reason to allow this bill to go forward, other than to have some Senators get a headline in their local newspapers about how they're tough on phishing?

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    Senator Ted Stevens™, Sponsor of this Bill, 13 Mar 2008 @ 11:56pm

    I sponsored this bill to make sure that fishing in the tubes is safe. If you fish for you should be guaranteed to catch only and not get instead. The tubes must be kept clean for fishing.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2008 @ 12:39am

    Just another day in US politics

    First, post number one is amusing. It is late however so I could be wrong.

    With that out of the way, this is nothing really new I've noticed. Politicians seem to be pushing unnecessary laws more and more often. It's part of a greater problem in America. One of many side effects that would vanish if things were different.

    Essentially, mostly greedy people enter politics. They want more money and more power, never mind that the majority are multi-millionaires before they run for office.

    As careful as the Founding Fathers were, I don't think they imagined how things could get out of hand and that the American public would vote people into office that don't have the intention of sticking to the original principals of America.

    I say original principals because things ARE different now. As much as I'd love for shit to get back in gear and for this country to turn around, it is just not going to happen without a huge civil movement behind it.

    There are a lot of things that have been done to this country to strip away our rights, and most don't even realize it. Even seemingly innocent things such as limiting the number of Representatives.

    Did you know that? The House of Representatives is supposed to grow with the population. Originally, one Representative for every 30,000 people. This was to ensure that the voice of the public was heard. Mathematically it has been worked out that 50,000 or 60,000 to one ratios are better balanced between providing enough voice for a State and keeping the number down.

    Instead, Congress limited the number of Representatives. They limited the voice of some people, some States. Some States that should have more than one Representative are limited to the minimum of one while a handful of States are given a majority.

    All so that the House will not go above the arbitrary number 435.

    I imagine that if the number of Representatives could be what it was, it would be a _lot_ harder to bribe our Congressmen to pass stupid laws. Stupid laws like the one this article describe would similarly be more difficult to pass.

    I hope America finds itself again someday. The Experiment still has great Potential, it just needs _true_ patriots to make it succeed at its _real_ intent.

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

    • identicon
      Cixelsid, 14 Mar 2008 @ 9:17am

      Re: Just another day in US politics

      Erm...I think poster #1 illustrated the issue correctly - its not about greed or intentional malice, its more likely simple ignorance and stupidity.

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

  • identicon
    registered voter, 14 Mar 2008 @ 12:42am

    you're a frigging moron

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

  • identicon
    Andrew, 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:29am

    More problems with bill

    There are even more problems with this bill, including being able to take away people's generic domains. Even a domain like TechDirt could be at risk. To read my interview with Ted Stevens about this bill, interview with Ted Stevens

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

  • identicon
    nipseyrussell, 14 Mar 2008 @ 9:23am

    i feel slightly dumber for having rad that "interview"

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

  • identicon
    Anonymoose Phishwatcher, 14 Mar 2008 @ 3:52pm

    Phishing isn't the problem. Fraud is the problem.

    ...and fraud is already illegal.

    Most phishing sites are hosted on compromised home PCs or insecure servers as part of ever rotating botnets. The perps and the data they are given remain outside the US. Zero impact to phishing. Lots of collateral damage.

    Bad legislator. Bad.

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

  • identicon
    Senator Ted Stevens™, Creator of Law, 14 Mar 2008 @ 4:55pm

    I believe what we have here is failure to communicate. I am a senator, you guys are not. So listen up you Tiny People™.

    Only a few of us have a right to domain names. Most of you have only the right to breathe, as long as the air isn't in tubes. So this law is for your own good because it will ensure that fishing is good for the fishermen (you) and the people who own the tubes (my constituents, er, my friends, er, the telcos). Now go back to watching American Idol and be quiet. Next we need to outlaw the ability to make anonymous comments on the tubes.

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

  • identicon
    The Old Vic, 20 Mar 2008 @ 8:14pm

    Just how likely is it that this bill will be passed ?

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

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.