Senate Passes U.S. SAFE WEB Act

March 17, 2006

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate last night passed S. 1608, the “Undertaking Spam, Spyware, And Fraud Enforcement With Enforcers Beyond Borders Act of 2005” (U.S. SAFE WEB Act) by unanimous consent. S. 1608 would amend the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA) to improve the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s ability to provide more timely and effective international consumer protection, including on issues such as spam, spyware, and Internet fraud and deception.

Senator Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) introduced the bill, which is co-sponsored by Co-Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), and Committee Members Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

Provisions of the legislation would provide for enhanced confidentiality of FTC investigations and prevents notifying subjects of investigations if they may be likely to destroy evidence or move assets offshore; protect entities from liability for voluntary disclosures to the FTC relating to suspected fraud and deception, increasing the likelihood of such disclosures from third parties; help the FTC track proceeds of fraud and deception sent through U.S. banks to foreign jurisdictions so they can be returned to victims; avoid challenges to FTC jurisdiction issues and encourage the full range of remedies for U.S. consumer victims in foreign courts; permit the FTC to work with the Department of Justice to increase the resources relating to FTC-related foreign litigation, such as freezing foreign assets and enforcing U.S. court judgments abroad; and authorize the FTC to share information with criminal authorities, which will improve information sharing with foreign agencies that treat consumer fraud and deception as a criminal law enforcement issue.

S. 1608 was originally reported on December 15, 2005, by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.