Spotlight on the SAFE WEB Act
Earlier today I had the opportunity to participate in the 3rd Joint London Action Plan-Contact Network of Spam Authorities Workshop, which also featured joint sessions with the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group. Every LAP-CNSA conference includes a panel on organizational updates, and I was pleased to provide an update on the activities of the Anti-Spyware Coalition. The ASC has been hard at work this year, finalizing its Best Practices and Conflict Resolution documents and organizing a successful public workshop of its own in June. Bigger news from the event came yesterday when Federal Trade Commission Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras announced that a district court judge has put a halt to an international spamming operation that deceptively promoted drugs for weight loss and aging reversal. This is the first case in which the FTC has made use of the U.S. SAFE WEB Act, a law passed late last year to make cross-border enforcement easier for the agency. Allowing cooperation with other nations is an absolute necessity in an age where cross-border networks make multi-national scams a routine occurrence. In testimony before Congress earlier this year, CDT expressed the hope that the FTC would make increasing use of its new SAFE WEB Act powers. Because the Commission is not required to report to Congress about its usage of the new law for three years, monitoring how the Act is affecting cross-border enforcement is difficult unless the FTC volunteers this information. In this case, the Commission chose to do just that, much to CDT's delight. We are pleased to see that the FTC is both making use of its new cross-border powers and disclosing the fact that it has done so. We hope this trend will continue.