RealTime IT News

FTC Calls for International Anti-Spam Efforts

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) joined 29 other countries today in calling for increased cooperation between nations in combating spam.

The FTC signed off on a set of anti-spam recommendations by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a coalition of 30 countries organized to promote economic growth and trade.

Among the top OECD action items are calls for government agencies such as the FTC to have the power to take action against spammers located outside their jurisdiction and increased information sharing between countries.

The OECD also said there should be greater cooperation in international efforts to reduce the incidence of inaccurate information about holders of domain names.

In addition, the coalition is urging greater government partnerships with industry and consumer groups to educate consumers and to promote information sharing.

The FTC pointed out it has already implemented several of the OECD's recommendations, including taking aggressive law enforcement actions against international spammers, partnering with the private sector for consumer education campaigns and encouraging the private sector to implement domain-level authentication systems.

The agency also used the occasion to urge Congress to pass the Undertaking Spam, Spyware, And Fraud Enforcement With Enforcers Beyond Borders Act of 2005" (U.S. SAFE WEB Act) introduced by Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.).

The bill authorizes the FTC to initiate cooperative cross-border law enforcement projects and to allow the FTC to share confidential information with foreign law enforcement officials in consumer protection cases.

"The Federal Trade Commission needs funding and jurisdiction to fight cross-border fraud," Smith said when the legislation passed the Senate in March.

"We can effectively fight Internet crime in the United States, but until we give the FTC clear directives and jurisdiction abroad we won't be able to get to the heart of the problem."

The legislation also would help the FTC track proceeds of fraud and deception sent through U.S. banks to foreign jurisdictions so they can be returned to victims.

The bill is pending committee hearings in the House.