Feeds

FTC demands bigger spyware penalties

Raising the fine line

Boost IT visibility and business value

US consumer watchdog the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is calling for a bigger stick with which to punish spyware purveyors.

As things stand the FTC is only able to collect profits illegally gained by infecting victims' PCs with malware along with obtaining financial redress for consumers. A brace of bills that would give the agency powers to impose fines are both stalled in congress.

The House passed the Spy Act and the I-Spy Act in May and June, respectively. The senate is yet to consider the proposals.

The FTC already has the ability to fine spammers. Giving it the same ability in spyware cases would act as an "enormous deterrent", FTC commissioner Jon Leibowitz told a spyware summit held in Washington DC.

He said quantifying how much money consumers had lost as a result of pop-up infections and the like was tricky, arguing that attempts to obtain consumer redress were failing.

"Right now, companies know that the worst they can do is lose their profits," Leibowitz said, IDG reports. "They're not going to get fined on top of that."

Leibowitz is on the record dissenting on agency settlements with firms held liable for distributing adware. The FTC fined DirectRevenue $1.5m, based on its profits from distributing adware, in February. Leibowitz disagreed with the decision arguing that after pulling in $20m in venture capital funding the founders of DirectRevenue would still be "lining their pockets from a business model based on deceit".

In related news, the FTC warned on Monday of a forged email message that tries to scare users into visiting a site hosting malware. The bogus messages falsely warn recipients that they have become the subject of a fictional FTC probe. For good measure, the emails also contained an infected attachment. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?