Senator Snowe’s Anti-Phishing Bill, Introduced Today, Will Combat Fraudulent and Deceptive Internet Practices That Harm Consumers and Businesses Alike
WASHINGTON, February 25, 2008 – The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA), comprised of ten globally recognized brand-name companies, strongly supports the Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act (APCPA), introduced today by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and cosponsored by Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Ted Stevens (R-AK).
Upon the bill’s introduction, Josh Bourne, President of CADNA, stated, “The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse applauds Senator Snowe for sponsoring this timely and necessary legislation to protect consumers and businesses alike from the latest batch of fraudulent and deceptive Internet practices. The members of CADNA look forward to working with Senator Snowe and her cosponsors on the Senate Commerce Committee to advance legislation to eliminate online practices that victimize consumers and destroy the public trust that is essential to a safe, secure and vibrant Internet economy.”
Allison McDade, Counsel for Dell Inc., a founding member of CADNA, added, “Dell appreciates Senator Snowe’s attention to this important consumer issue. We have spent significant time, effort, and money protecting our own customers from the deception and confusion caused by these practices. Dell looks forward to working with its fellow CADNA members and the bill’s cosponsors to address this growing concern for consumers and businesses alike.”
First and foremost, the APCPA protects consumers from a form of identity theft known as “phishing,” in which consumers are induced to divulge personal information to anonymous identity thieves and other bad actors who pretend to represent well-known brands in order to gain consumers’ trust. Phishing attacks wreak tremendous harm upon consumers, as they result in empty bank accounts, ruined credit histories and stolen identities. They also tarnish the goodwill and reputation of the companies whose brand names are used to fraudulently solicit such information at spoofed Web sites, in deceptive e-mail messages and by other means.
Additionally, the APCPA addresses the related practice of using deceptive Web site domain names, which appear confusingly similar to well-known businesses’ Web site addresses, and may be used to facilitate phishing attacks and deceptive spam attacks, or to divert consumers from their intended online destinations to Web sites peddling unrelated or objectionable goods and services, including those harmful to minors.
Finally, the APCPA seeks to restore trust in online commerce by requiring that owners of commercial Web sites provide true and accurate contact information for each domain name they register so that consumers and other businesses can identify those with whom they may be dealing in online transactions. The bill further prohibits the “shielding” or “privacy” services that can provide a veil of anonymity for those businesses that are violating the law, as is often the case today. Accordingly, the bill requires registrars to reveal a domain name registrant’s contact information once notified of their potentially fraudulent or criminal activity. Law enforcement authorities, the Federal Trade Commission and businesses harmed by fraudulent and deceptive practices all need to have
accurate Web site registrant information in order to enforce the law, protect consumers and permit businesses to protect their brands online.
CADNA’s legislative counsel, Paul Martino, a partner at Alston & Bird LLP and former Senate Commerce Committee counsel, remarked, “Senator Snowe’s bill will protect unsuspecting consumers who are exploited by online identity thieves that use the cover of a ‘spoofed’ brand name. The bill will draw strong bipartisan support in the Senate Commerce Committee, which has consistently considered and passed online consumer protection legislation.”
The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (“CADNA”) is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization dedicated to ending the systemic domain name abuses that plague the Internet today. Its members include the following global corporations: American International Group, Inc.; Bacardi & Company Limited; Compagnie Financière Richemont SA; Dell Inc.; Eli Lilly and Company; Hilton Hotels Corporation; HSBC Holdings plc; Marriott International, Inc.; Verizon Communications Inc.; and Wyndham Worldwide Corporation. For more information, please visit www.cadna.org.