Tag: FTC

FTC must need the interest payments

Choicepoint was forced to pay the FTC $15 million, including $5 million for a victim’s assistance fund, after coughing up a bunch of personal data to a pack of scammers. Now it seems the FTC is in the best of health, as they have yet to “cough up” any of that dough.

They must be living off the interest.

FTC missing two laptops, and a bunch of 0’s

Reuters says that two FTC laptops were stolen, and the report is a whopping 110 people be affected. Wow, 110!

This follows the VA data theft debacle, which resulting in a significant number of records (like over 26 million significant) and the resulting upward estimate to include active servicemen and women. First estimates are almost always understated. I wonder if the FTC spokesperson just forgot about a few zeros.

We’ll soon find out.

FTC smacks cell phone records sales

That travesty of privacy, the third-party sale of cell phone records, is now taking some serious heat. Several of the companies involved are now being sued by the FTC.


Sometimes (just sometimes) you have to love the FTC. Someone over there gets it.

Recent spam busts a circle of friends?

I don’t have time today to check this out (how irresponsible, eh?) but I’ve been told that the suits and fines I “reported” on earlier today are linked together. According to an anonymous tip, Gratis Internet was the main cog, selling lists to Datran (which Spitzer got a hold of), and Jumpstart (which was just fined by the FTC).

Gratis who just got sued in NY sold the lists to Datran and Jumpstart. Spitzer got Datran and the Feds got Jumpstart. Datran doesn’t seem to have violated CAN-SPAM, but did violate the privacy policies which is how Spitzer got them. I’ll bet the Feds took Jumpstart away from Spitzer because of CAN-SPAM.

I suspect the next one will be JDR that Gratis sold the lists to. See the legal complaint against them to see who else they worked with.

Looks like Datran was trying to do the right thing but didn’t know who they were buying from. The Gratis lawsuit (item 41) indicates they thought they were getting a legal list.

Can’t get to digging up the complaint, so I can’t validate any of this – but it is interesting, and none too surprising. Can someone throw the community a bone here? Almost forgot – thanks for the write in.

FTC hits a home run

Everyone knows that I think bureaucrats could use some productivity training. But damn, do I love it when they fine the crap out of someone for spamming and spyware (and even for giving away personal data). The FTC just dispensed their biggest fine yet under CAN-SPAM. The perp was Jumpstart Technologies, an internet marketer who deployed emails akin to those fake “handwritten letters” you get in the regular mail every now and then.

A thank you is in order. So everyone….Thank You FTC (but don’t rest on your laurels).

Adware advertisers best ready for mugshots

And the FTC should get their lawyers ready as well.

Hot on the heals of academics and big internet companies banding together to out spyware makers, the FTC is proposing a little outing of their own. They want to publish the names of advertisers who covort with the former.

My take? I suspect it won’t be long before adware distributors are putting up deceptive product from non-existent big name clients just to steer the FTC into a bunch of lawsuits. The government thinks it is all goody two shoes, fun and games. Unfortunately, the space is still the wild, wild, west, and the bad guys are not going to fight fair. They have “affiliates” to hide behind and blame for any mishaps, and that is exactly what they will to do by pushing the FTC, and some big name litigants (and their attorneys), into each other’s crossfire.

Stay tuned.

“Banning” malware, and a whole lot more

This isn’t a new idea: ban infected computers from the net. Some Australian ISPs have already done this with zombied computers, and the FTC has pushed for the same.

It is not a bad idea. In fact, I think it is a damn good one, no matter what Microsoft says. Put the responsibility for safe computing in the hands of the user, much like the responsibility one has when behind the wheel. If you are somehow infected through carelessness (or flat out ineptitude), you can continue your work, just within the confines of your Linksys router instead of my hard drive.

Propaganda doesn’t pay off

You can send out all the propaganda you want regarding the spam wars, and how CAN-SPAM is doing such a great job. But more than one person is going to question what you’re saying.

Someone has to clue the government in to the fact that information is extremely widely available, and totally mainstream. The “paid press” is becoming less significant by the hour – and even they know if they spew some nonsense, they’re going to be millions calling them on the carpet over it (and usually within five minutes or so).

While I generally favor what the FTC has been doing on the computer security front, I just have to say they need to be a little more careful (and cognizant) next time they try to give credit where credit isn’t due.

Watch for “political appointments” out of the FTC

The FTC has recently come out with a very long report detailing how CAN-SPAM is working. Brian McWilliams pointed out that while they interviewed numerous people for the work, including folks at the Direct Marketing Association, they forgot to talk to Steve Linford over at Spamhaus.

While this is not a particularly strange omission (as Brian notes Steve was not very happy with CAN-SPAM), I am more curious as to the cause of the sudden shift of gears. The FTC was just saying CAN-SPAM wasn’t working too well a few months ago. Meanwhile, they have been out and about, cracking heads, and getting some decent PR as a result. Cripes, they even even shut down a splog ring!

Then a turf war started between the FTC and Congress, and now it looks like someone has caved. All that comes out of Congress is noise, so they couldn’t have anyone lingering around doing something about the issue. The FTC seems to be backing off (and spewing some sound of their own), and there is no doubt a few politicians will be waving this “report” around and taking the credit. I wonder who is getting the next appointment.

Lonely housewives soon to be lonelier

A spam group was sending out emails directing recipients to a website advertising “lonely housewives” looking for companionship. The sexual solicitation issue notwithstanding, what the heck does the FTC have against lonely housewives? I don’t know, but the operation has been shut down at their bequest anyway.