I Get Spam. Can I Have Sweeping Federal Police Powers?

Seems that attentive folks, all six of us, are up in arms, legs, and, in some cases, tentacles about the new powers that the FTC wants to combat spam. That’s right, to combat a nuisance, federal officials (read: federal bureaucrats) want sweeping new powers, including (as I quote from the CNet news article):

  • Let the FTC send a confidential demand to an ISP as part of an investigation and requiring the recipient to “keep such process confidential.” Without it, the FTC argues, “when fraud targets are given notice of FTC investigations they often destroy documents.” The target of the investigation may not be notified for up to half a year, according to this proposal.
  • Permit foreign police to obtain subscriber records and customer information from ISPs as part of an FTC investigation that is already under way.
  • Grant the FTC the power to cooperate closely with foreign police who are investigating “fraudulent, deceptive, misleading or unfair commercial conduct.”
  • Immunize part of the FTC from the Freedom of Information Act by saying the FTC may choose not to disclose certain “material obtained from a foreign law enforcement agency.”
  • Open the FBI’s massive National Crime Information Center computer to FTC investigators. That computer came under fire in March after the Justice Department said it would no longer strive to maintain the database’s accuracy and integrity.

Suh-weet, but why pull up short? Why not add these things:

  • Ability to bulldoze houses and offices of suspected spam e-mail senders.
  • Ability to stun, by electrical or blunt object means, people who open spam messages and/or fall for the “click here to remove” trick.
  • Federal prison sentences for pinheads who order pills that purport to improve their golf games.
  • All other duties and powers as desired.

After all, in the post 9/11 world, if we cannot create new powers for government agencies to abuse, the terrorists and spammers will have won.

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