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Congress May Require ISPs To Block Certain Fraud Sites

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the just-getting-warmed-up dept.

The Internet 180

FutureDomain writes "A bill which just passed the House Financial Services Committee would require Internet Service Providers to block access to sites hosting financial scams that pose as members of the government-backed Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). The bill, called the Investor Protection Act and sponsored by Paul Kanjorski (D-PA), is broad enough to block not only websites, but email and any other 'electronic material.' 'Internet providers are also worried that Kanjorski's requirement — and the accompanying civil penalties and injunctions — would apply even if the blocking is not technically feasible.'"

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good or bad? (3, Insightful)

MeatBag PussRocket (1475317) | about 5 years ago | (#29994028)

on the surface i see this as good, nobody likes being scammed, but things always get out of hand and this i fear may start down a slippery slope of censorship.

and i'd really miss all the Nigerian prince jokes.

Re:good or bad? (4, Insightful)

DustyShadow (691635) | about 5 years ago | (#29994168)

Won't be long before "fraud sites" = "copyright infringement" sites. Who is behind this?

Re:good or bad? (2, Funny)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | about 5 years ago | (#29994440)

TFA has an addendum that basically says the congressman that introduced the provision didn't understand the implications of what he wrote, and is planning on revising it based on input from the industry.

By the industry, I'm fairly sure he means us, not the RIAA.

Re:good or bad? (3, Interesting)

relguj9 (1313593) | about 5 years ago | (#29994524)

I know I'm not the only one who FREAKING HATES the idea of bureaucrats making decisions on this shit about which they have NO IDEA what they are talking about.

Argh, I know it's happened and will happen for years, but I hate hate hate it. They need to make a board of legitimate professionals in the industry who know WTF they are talking about to come up with any regulations that might be made.

Re:good or bad? (5, Informative)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | about 5 years ago | (#29994600)

I don't think you have a proper understanding of what a bureaucrat is. A congressman is not a bureaucrat. A bureaucrat is a member of the treasury department (and the treasury wisely included no such provision as this in their bill.)

A bureaucrat is also a member of ICANN or the FCC, the former of which has regulated the Internet so well that most people aren't even aware of its regulatory authority. The latter has demonstrated such a thoughtful and intelligent understanding of the issues at play that the ISPs have tried to smash the FCC down before it manages to rein in the ISPs' flagrant abuses of power.

Bureaucrats who have no idea what they're talking about are terrible things. However, if you look around you'll find most bureaucrats know exactly what they're talking about. It's the politicians you need to watch out for.

Re:good or bad? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 years ago | (#29994710)

Yes - but - bureaucrats are as prone to those "unintended consequences" as anyone. And once a pack of bureaucrats adopt a measure, or a method, they are harder to change than the politicians.

There really ought to be a sensible and legal way to take frauds out. But, I don't expect anything sensible from the government, whether the politicos or the bureaucrats are involved.

Re:good or bad? (1)

roguetrick (1147853) | about 5 years ago | (#29994830)

Like what, strategic bombing?

Re:good or bad? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29994920)

"pack of bureaucrats"

I don't think the collective noun is "pack". Let me be the first to suggest a SLIME of bureaucrats.

Re:good or bad? (2)

morgauxo (974071) | about 5 years ago | (#29994856)

The people would never elect someone who knows what they are talking about.
Appointees have no accountability.
So who do you recommend and how do we get them into power?

Re:good or bad? (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29995700)

Pick someone at random and let them run the country until they resign. If they are sufficiently incompetent, shoot them. If they resign without being shot, give them a large pension, proportional to how well they did their job and how long they lasted in office.

Re:good or bad? (4, Insightful)

orsty3001 (1377575) | about 5 years ago | (#29994470)

I was just thinking it won't be long before the interpretation of the term fraud site is twisted into something else. We all know how the government handles the interpretation of laws. Just look at the tax code.

Re:good or bad? (1)

amplt1337 (707922) | about 5 years ago | (#29995578)

We all know how the government handles the interpretation of laws. Just look at the tax code.

...I'm not sure how this is relevant to the rest of your argument. The tax code is quite complicated, but if you take the time to read it, it is blatantly biased in favor of the extremely wealthy and of corporate entities.
But that's not interpretation. That's the law, as it's written.

Who is behind this? (0)

drainbramage (588291) | about 5 years ago | (#29994858)

I've heard of not RTFA before posting, but wow, you didn't even read the headline?
Not even the very first word?
How many times did you vote Tuesday?

Re:Who is behind this? (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | about 5 years ago | (#29994974)

Seems like you didn't even read my post.

Re:Who is behind this? (4, Insightful)

dissy (172727) | about 5 years ago | (#29995264)

I've heard of not RTFA before posting, but wow, you didn't even read the headline?
Not even the very first word?
How many times did you vote Tuesday?

In insulting the parent poster, you just proved his point correct and your own flame as false.

Yes, read TFA, and the summary, and the very first word, all as you point out.

Now, with that, prove to us that this won't be used to block anything congress critters don't like. Just try.

I can prove they will. It's called history, and 100% of the laws that could be abused in this way, HAVE BEEN. 0% of them have not been abused.

With that type of track record, you are insane if you think this won't be used to block Joe Random blogger who is critical of something the government is doing.

But who will protect us from Kanjorski? (3, Informative)

daninaustin (985354) | about 5 years ago | (#29994908)

I think we should be more concerned about politicians who earmark millions of dollars for their family. []

Re:But who will protect us from Kanjorski? (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 5 years ago | (#29995446)

Politicians can only put in provisions that give money to friends and family if they pass a dumb law with said provisions.

We are already there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29995020)

The scam sites routinely misappropriate copyrighted logos and trademarks. This is a violation of copyright and possibly the Lanham act. Since copyright has some of the most stringent penalties available, it's only a matter of time before this becomes the remedy vs. the scammers. At some point after that, the precedent can be applied to non-scam copyright violation. For an industry that is desperate to prove copyright violation is not always a victimless crime, the scammers are just what the doctor ordered.

Re:good or bad? (4, Insightful)

noundi (1044080) | about 5 years ago | (#29995428)

Won't be long before "fraud sites" = "copyright infringement" sites. Who is behind this?

You know, an easy and proper way to handle this would be to have a governmental entity maintain a blocklist which ordinary citizens can optionally install/use/turn on/turn off (with some easy to use software). See it like a seatbelt (I know the seatbelt is required by law in some countries but in this case it doesn't kill you to not use it) which you can switch on and off. This would be an excellent example of the government aiding the public instead of dictating the public. Those of us who know what we're getting ourselves into when we turn it off of never install it can choose freely, and those who don't bother to learn can fallback on this solution -- free to anytime educate themselves and turn it off.
This way the government offers a safe choice (with whatever blocked content, be it copyright infringement or not) yet is liberal enough to let you decide in the end. If you get "hurt", then you're to blame for deliberately turning it off while being uninformed. And the rest of us get to keep the net undictated. At the end of the day the friction is between people who know what they're doing and want to be free to do what they consider to be the best way to utilize the net, and those who don't know what they're doing that are in need of this type of protection.

Re:good or bad? (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 5 years ago | (#29995722)

I see no problem with blocking copyright infringement web sites.

What I do see a problem with is the jump to conclusion that a given web site is bad in some way, whether that be copyright infringement, scammer fraud, or other bad stuff, without the appropriate due diligence and due process, and including fair use consideration. I see a problem in mandating particular kinds of blocking mechanisms that have collateral damage. I see a problem in requiring the ISPs the take on all the costs (which means customers not even accessing those sites are paying for it). And I see a problem with confused lawyers always claiming that even slight similarity of trademarks constitutes widespread public confusion (which is virtually never the case).

So what we really need is a proper due process for determining if a given site truly is bad (enough to block) as defined under the law, including full legal notice, opportunity to dispute and defend, and a genuine appeal route. In most cases, genuine bad people won't even show up and will lose by default judgment. This can be more complex if the bad site is out of the jurisdiction.

We need for anyone making claims of copyright infringement to be putting themselves on the line in the event it is not real infringement. If they lose, they pay the defendant's legal costs. If the court determines it is clearly not infringement, they also have to pay a penalty. OTOH, if it's not all that clear a case and the court determines it is borderline, everyone pays their own legal costs.

The above should also include a provision for "take down consent". That means the party accused can elect to take down the site by consent pending outcome of the case, if the accuser asks for this. But if the defendant wins, the plaintiff pays the loses the defendant incurred by having the site down. OTOH, if the defendant elects to not take the site down, and loses, the defendant has to pay all the loses the plaintiff incurred to have the site up. Determination of loses do have to be genuine and provable.

Once a site is ordered to be taken down, and the site operator, or his ISP, refuses, then it can be ordered to be blocked. This order must include a provision to use the method of least collateral damage. And the plaintiff must pay for 50% of any new equipment required to perform the blocking ... but gets that money back pro-rated for proportion of use, when the next plaintiff gets an order for blocking when the same equipment can do the 2nd blocking order, too.

Such technical means must never do things like block DNS to force customers to use the ISP's DNS servers.

Re:good or bad? (5, Insightful)

kungfugleek (1314949) | about 5 years ago | (#29994268)

When they came for the fraud sites, I did not speak up because I was not a fraud site....

Re:good or bad? (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29994446)

Every once in a while, usually when something makes it into my inbox, I contact the ISP hosting a fraud site (and perhaps the registrar for the domain) with the hope that they shut the site down (why would they want their business associated with fraud?).

Are you suggesting that they should not bother having an AUP because it might cause them to censor someone?

Re:good or bad? (2, Interesting)

kungfugleek (1314949) | about 5 years ago | (#29994876)

Actually I was just excited at the chance to use an internet meme before someone else did. I was going more for a facetious/sarcastic thing. And to maybe make a point that you can abuse that phrase to dissuade people from outlawing almost anything. For example, "When they came for the rapists, I did not speak up because I was not a rapist." But in the end, it's probably best to forget that I said anything!

Re:good or bad? (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29995012)

Yeah, I missed the parody (probably because enough people mean it when they talk about slippery slopes (what isn't in a society of compromises?)).

Re:good or bad? (1)

gfreeman (456642) | about 5 years ago | (#29994880)

why would they want their business associated with fraud?

Because they are making money from it, enough money to payoff those who may follow up. Remember, many fraud sites are not hosted in the US.

Re:good or bad? (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29994986)

Oh, I get it, I just latch onto that optimism when I am doing the reporting, my expectations as to the efficacy are a little more pessimistic.

Re:good or bad? (1)

Kulfaangaren! (1294552) | about 5 years ago | (#29994878)

+1. Wish I had mod-points.

Good or Bad? A Good Question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29994456)

Yes, it's perfectly laudable to protect people from scams, from pictures of sexual child abuse, from copyright, from hate speech, from defamation, from critique on our benevolent overlords the government... wait, what?

The point is that whatever you're trying to protect from, blocking is always censorship. Censorship instantly makes a country, any country, even, no especially the USA, a lot less free.

No, I don't think most of the above should even be punishable, not even possession of, as is illegal in the UK now, "extreme" porn drawings. Producing actual child porn causing harm to children, yes, that should be punishable. But possession of pictures is not making same pictures. And it's really only the causing harm I care about.

Show me that hate speech causes harm instead of merely assuming it does and I'll agree to suppressing it. Otherwise, well, we're still free to disagree with or ignore anybody else's free speech.

Show me that copyright infringment causes harm and I'll even support those despicable bastards at the RIAA. All evidence to date points the other way. Either that or it shows signs of pressure group tampering.

The only way I would support "taking down" these scam sites is by doing it in a lawful manner: Drag them before the relevant court of justice. Judge says it's ok? Impound the stuff and throw'em in the clink, or whatever the judge said to do with'em. If the police cannot do that, then there is no reason to make ISPs play the police, or to institute elaborate censorship schemes (who is going to maintain the list of "bad" sites?) but every reason to fix the police.

Complaining teh interwebz makes this Just Too Hard is rubbish: Way back when there were plenty of nigerian scams sent by postal mail, coming from far and away. Even postage is not an excuse: Fleece someone for even just $10k and calculate how many international letters you can send for that amount. It's less than email, but with take up rates less spectacularly low than email, enough to make a profit.

The only way to take the sting out of financial fraud scams quickly is to educate people that these are scams and that falling for them makes one an accomplice, so don't do it. If you can't teach them even that little, then protecting them makes no sense either.

Re:Good or Bad? A Good Question. (1)

roguetrick (1147853) | about 5 years ago | (#29994926)

How do you propose to bring someone in another country to a judge? You could argue that a judge should approve of the blocking.

Also, fraud very evidently falls into the sort of action that causes direct harm, so I don't know what you were getting at with the "show me that" stuff.

As far as the Internet being too hard, the ISPs certainly have some defense that the post offices don't, namely everyone has a "from" address. It makes it easier to stop than the post.

On the final note, all the education in the world can't stop fraud, the only thing that can is the complete abolishment of any trust. That'll just end you up living in a cave.

The slippery slope is a fallacy, but that doesn't mean these actions can't be harmful if they're taken the wrong way.

OpenDNS (2, Informative)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | about 5 years ago | (#29994030)

Re:OpenDNS (5, Insightful)

stonedcat (80201) | about 5 years ago | (#29994156)

You realize of course we'd also have to stop people from using dangerous third party dns services for their own protection..

Re:OpenDNS (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29995650)

Well I for one am extremely happy with this bill, and all the previous actions of Clinton, Bush, and Obama.

Their ever-increasingly central control via government of private citizens' lives, homes, and communications will make it MUCH easier for me. I and my brownshirts will be able to sweep-in to the Congress, declare emergency powers, turn-off the communication networks, and consolidate power with ease. Thank you Bill, George and Barak.

Napoleon the X

EXAMPLE: Man detained by U.S. government because he was carrying $4000 in cash from St.Louis to Arlington Virginia - []

Re:OpenDNS (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | about 5 years ago | (#29994190)

Would that do anything if they blocked IPs? Sure, there's always a way around all of this, but the question is if you give them an inch, do they take a mile?

Re:OpenDNS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29995088)

Open DNS is shit.
They re-route DNS errors to a domain they control instead of properly returning error code.

One thing to say (-1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | about 5 years ago | (#29994034)

It's about time!

Re:One thing to say (5, Insightful)

acedotcom (998378) | about 5 years ago | (#29994476)

Are you high? The DMCA started with the best of intentions. Now it is used to stifle people criticism and control content. i can only assume you are some kind of troll, because you surely realize that as soon as you start blanketing one corner of the internet with "fraud protection", you move to "counterfeit assurance" and then "piracy control" until you finally get to "free speech countermeasures". if this is the internet you want, please, setup your own intranet and leave the rest of us out of it. i'll take the scammers any day over oppression.

Re:One thing to say (-1, Flamebait)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29994642)

As I just posted elsewhere:

Open your eyes. This is not liberalism; it's a throwback to conservative government circa 1700. The leaders are rebuilding a Middle Age-style oligarchy where they run your life as if you were a serf.

Re:One thing to say (3, Funny)

amplt1337 (707922) | about 5 years ago | (#29995588)

The DMCA started with the best of intentions.

Sorry, you lost me there.

Re:One thing to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29994628)

Are they going to block the IRS website, a bigger bunch of fraudsters you could not find (maybe).

And so it begins... (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | about 5 years ago | (#29994044)

This is how European-style web-blocking will come to the US?... I give it
Why don't they just arrest the scammers? Are they in Nigeria and Nigeria won't turn them over? Why don't we send agents abroad to bring them here? Didn't stop us from doing it in Italy to a guy suspected of being a member of Al Qaeda...

Re:And so it begins... (5, Funny)

Mythrix (779875) | about 5 years ago | (#29994218)

Why don't they just arrest the scammers? Are they in Nigeria and Nigeria won't turn them over?

Nigeria would turn them over, but is demanding advance fees for the process and paperwork involved.

Re:And so it begins... (0, Troll)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29994546)

Additionally, why would they extradite Nigeria's third largest business?

Also, what crazy person thinks, natural selection (the weeding out of total retards) is something bad? If anything, they're doing us a service. Something that we ourselves stopped doing: Rewarding those who have a working brain!

Re:And so it begins... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29995688)

I heard there is this former prince in Nigeria that may be willing to help, but as he has been ousted from the government, there is nothing he can do for us at the moment. So if we all chip in and send him a check for $1,000, he can get back into office and help us.

Rather Continues (4, Insightful)

omb (759389) | about 5 years ago | (#29994294)

This, which is clearly a waste of time if it is technically possible, at all,

is legislative masturbation,

it isnt that the Congress has nothing to, re-enact Glass-Steagall, stop naked shorts and credit default swaps

properly regulate the Fed, SEC and the exchanges;

Deal with those Too-Big-To-Fail

Re:Rather Continues (1)

dkf (304284) | about 5 years ago | (#29995398)

Deal with those Too-Big-To-Fail

The internet is too big to fail...

Re:And so it begins... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29995358)

This is how European-style web-blocking will come to the US?

I'm in Europe. This is not European-style web-blocking. This is entirely US-style web-blocking. Didn't you know that "land of the free" was tongue in cheek for a log long time now?

Hmm (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29994050)

'Internet providers are also worried that Kanjorski's requirement — and the accompanying civil penalties and injunctions — would apply even if the blocking is not technically feasible.'"

They shouldn't be worried. The government almost never passes laws which cannot be enforced. They've got a pretty good grasp on technology.

Oh, by the way, I'm selling some ocean-front property in Arizona. It's quite a steal, feel free to reply if you are interested.

I'll get back to you next week (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29994490)

I'm expecting some money to be wired to me from abroad, and it sounds like a nice way to invest.

Oh, that will work well. (0)

asdf7890 (1518587) | about 5 years ago | (#29994120)

Ah, yet another legislative solution that simply isn't going to achieve anything...

How many scam sites are actually hosted in a country where this new act carries any weight what-so-ever? Even if you close one that is in your country, how much time to you think it would take for the fraudsters to just move elsewhere?

Re:Oh, that will work well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29994406)

You are confused. This is about the ISPs. Who are presumably serving US customers, and are hence, located in some jurisdiction of said country. The sites themselves are of course hosted in all sorts of places, and that's why it's impossible to deal with them effectively. Short of nuclear bombardment, what can be done? Not much on that end. But ISPs, well, they can be made to protect their customers more effectively than they are now.

At least that's the intent. Whether it will be so in practice? I'm not sure.

The kneejerk reaction of the Slashdot crowd though...probably not effective. At least some people are suggesting alternatives they think will work better, but many are just complaining that the Congresspeople don't know technology.

Bill-writing checklist: (4, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | about 5 years ago | (#29994158)

Okay gentlemen, let's take a look and see if this bill is ready to become law.
  • Largely unenforceable? Check.
  • Written by people uninformed about the technology involved? Check.
  • Feel-good protectionist law that will only give a false sense of security? Check.
  • Mandates action that may or may not be reasonable? Check.
  • Sets another precedent for controlling what people see see and where they go on the internet? Check.

Well, all the requirements are there ... let's vote. Any opposed? [gavel] Excellent.


I am all for stopping fraud, but scammers are far more nimble and inventive than our government, particularly Congress. This ain't gonna stop them.

the more "protection "rights" bills (3, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | about 5 years ago | (#29994568)

that I see coming from Congress the more worried I get. They seldom do what they say and seem to only enforce someone's right to do what they are doing to me.

Like being told they have X hours to hold my laptop during a border crossing, or codifying the ability of an airline to hold me hostage on a plane for X hours.

When they tell you they are defining you rights be very afraid.

Re:Bill-writing checklist: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29994644)

Hi, I'm House Representative Paul Kanjorski,

I like candlelit dinners, long walks on the beach, and simplistic solutions to complex problems that I don't really understand.

Paul "K-Bear" Kanjorski

Re:Bill-writing checklist: (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 5 years ago | (#29994702)


How are we supposed to take you seriously when your tags are unbalanced???

Re:Bill-writing checklist: (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | about 5 years ago | (#29994762)


The comment was only intended for readers who are sophisticated enough to parse it as-is.


Re:Bill-writing checklist: (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29995756)

He's an Intercal programmer.

Re:Bill-writing checklist: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29994816)

You forgot the most important thing:

We have to give it a cutesy acronym. You can't vote on a law without a cutesy acronym.

Re:Bill-writing checklist: (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | about 5 years ago | (#29995130)

How about SAFE? I like "SAFE" as an acronym. It makes me feel like they are doing something to protect me. SIPC (something) Fraud (something else)?

Stupid Accounting Fraud Enactment?

Technical solutions are already out there (5, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | about 5 years ago | (#29994204)

Things like SPF, and Domain Keys, and signed DNS would all prevent this. They would all help ensure that emails are coming from who they say they are coming from.

Instead of "blocking" things, why not force all government agencies to setup SPF and Domain keys, and maybe start signing the .GOV domain?

Re:Technical solutions are already out there (4, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | about 5 years ago | (#29994408)

If they're trying to protect us from criminals and scammers, wouldn't BLOCKING .gov be a better solution? (snare drum)

Re:Technical solutions are already out there (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 5 years ago | (#29994526)

While you are going for teh funnay, why not instead insist that any government related site run on a .gov domain? Its not like domains cost anything, and it would be fairly obvious if you weren't at a government site. Example - whats the site that you can get free credit reports from that is associated with the FTC?,, Why shouldn't it be

Re:Technical solutions are already out there (4, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | about 5 years ago | (#29994778)

Unfortunately, a lot of people don't understand that "the internet is not .com". I run a couple of web sites for organizations, and I have to get the .com as well as the .org for any domains, because 20-30% of visitors come to the .com one, and if I don't snag the .com immediately I'll get complaints that the organization I support is a front for porn or ad sites.

I once tried to give out a .org address to someone, and they asked (I am not making this up), "so that's xyz dot org dot com?" - I finally gave up and made it a habit to grab the .org AND .com for any org I set up.

PS: does work. It redirects to the FTC, which has links to is a non-Governmental organization, set up in response to demands from the government that consumers get annual free access to their credit reports. So giving them a .gov URL would be inappropriate., on the other hand, belongs to, and is a pay-for site that is desperately trying to pretend to be the FTC-mandated free credit check service, but is in fact a "free trial with automatic renewal at $15 a month after seven days" service. As with many such services, good luck canceling it before you get whacked $15 a month for the rest of your life.

And, of course, you can't stop such a service by non-payment. I mean, after all, it's run by Experian. Imagine what your credit report would look like if you tried to stop a payment to a credit reporting agency. Might as well slash your wrists now and save the agony.

Re:Technical solutions are already out there (1)

amplt1337 (707922) | about 5 years ago | (#29995530)

Unfortunately, a lot of people don't understand that "the internet is not .com".

These people will become enlightened once the rest of us stop coddling them. is a non-Governmental organization, set up in response to demands from the government that consumers get annual free access to their credit reports.

Wherein lies the problem. It should have been a governmental organization.
Then again, the entire process of credit reporting needs much heavier regulation than it currently receives. We would not see nearly the problems with identity theft and blatantly-wrong, willfully-uncorrected credit report details if the government were managing the process.

Re:Technical solutions are already out there (1)

cygtoad (619016) | about 5 years ago | (#29994562)

Domain keys? SPF?

Um, what are those?

Again, what efforts have we made to educate our representatives? If we leave it up to them they can only act on what knowledge they have. So isn't this partially our fault too?

It is easy to criticize officials who make blind decisions from the comfort of our keyboards, but we might as well yell at the TV during Monday night football. The problem is that we are not in the game. You could argue that we cannot get in the game, but have we tried?

Re:Technical solutions are already out there (1)

JacobSteelsmith (911307) | about 5 years ago | (#29995410)

I agree, except much spam is now coming from hijacked accounts. So domain keys, SPF, and signed DNS would not help much as the spam is coming from legitimate email accounts.

Some Suggestions (0, Troll)

jongalbreath (1621157) | about 5 years ago | (#29994230)

Here's a couple they can start with:,

ScrubIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29994298)

ScrubIT has already been filtering our porn and malicious sites. Personally, I am surprised more ISP dont do so as well. DNS lookups would be much faster without all the garbage listings.

Scary stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29994300)

This _is_ internet censorship. While, most people won't have a problem with filtering this site or when they move onto censoring child pornography ... It is scary to think how far it may go when pushed by the right lobbyist (popular torrent sites, sites offering prescription drugs, etc).

Re:Scary stuff (1)

roguetrick (1147853) | about 5 years ago | (#29994996)

The thing about that slippery slope is that they already could do that without this framework in place. Its not a linear progression of ideas just because you think one thing is worse than the other. There is no slope.

Durr.... (2, Funny)

Sporkinum (655143) | about 5 years ago | (#29994312)

Sounds like Kanjorski is going full retard.

Tagging: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29994326)

I vote that whomever is tagging YRO posts with democrats stop, and just start using Politicians, or Congresscritters, as the two major American parties have proven themselves to be utterly interchangeable and the partisan tagging only serves to inflame, not further, discussion.

Exemptions? (5, Funny)

rbarreira (836272) | about 5 years ago | (#29994330)

Will the bailed out banks get an exemption?

But, But, But! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#29994358)

How will I contact my investment bank, or get information from the federal reserve if this bill passes?

CFPA is possibly even worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29994364)

Congress keeps trying to overreach in these issues. The CFPA is going to impose ridiculous restrictions on the technology community as well:

both of these bills are poorly thought out and should be shot down.

The long, slow descent has begun (2, Insightful)

pongo000 (97357) | about 5 years ago | (#29994372)

First it will be fraud sites. Then alleged copyright infringers. Then alleged porn peddlers. Then alleged left wing/right wing propagandists. Then any site deemed to be detrimental to the well-being of the Homeland.

And before you know it, the commercialization of the World Wide Web (a least from the viewpoint of a US citizen) will be complete.

Here's a message to Congress: Just stay the fuck out of my life.

Re:The long, slow descent has begun (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about 5 years ago | (#29994624)

I think you have some of that backwards. Porn will be right after this, particularly CP, and some of the more extreme ones (think "2 girls one cup"). Then it will be copyright....

Re:The long, slow descent has begun (1)

natehoy (1608657) | about 5 years ago | (#29994838)

I disagree. The anti-piracy group has a much larger bribe/payola budget than the conservative christian groups.

Now, maybe kiddie porn will go before piracy, because "think of the chilluns" can always get a bill passed and they'll have some precedents to make an anti-piracy one easy to pa$$ after that. But regular consenting-adult porn will be pretty far down the list of priorities because there's not as much immediate profit in it.

Why not all spam? (3, Insightful)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about 5 years ago | (#29994412)

Just pass a law saying the ISPs must block all spam, problem solved. Next, they should make them block all viruses as well. Wow, I never thought it would be this easy. Block any discussion of terrorist acts as well, and all pictures of ugly women.

Re:Why not all spam? (2, Interesting)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | about 5 years ago | (#29995260)

Duh, you forgot the most important part: liability!

Any Internet service provider that, on or through a system or network controlled or operated by the Internet service provider, transmits, routes, provides connections for, or stores any material containing any misrepresentation (of the SIPC) shall be liable for any damages caused thereby , [emphasis mine] including damages suffered by the SIPC, if the Internet service aware of facts or circumstances from which it is apparent that the material contains a misrepresentation.

Dude, if we could get the ISPs to pay us for everything that ever goes wrong on the Internet, think of how much money we could make!

Days of the free internet are finally ending (3, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | about 5 years ago | (#29994424)

It's been clear for some time now that it was only a matter of time before the feds began forcing ISP's to block controversial sites (probably with about as much "proof" of wrongdoing as we see in the infamous DMCA takedown notices). It's sad that the days of simply typing in or even a lot of legitimate sites' URL's and having the site just pop up are coming to an end. From now on out, it's going to be a constant fight between users and their ISP's, with the RIAA/MPAA exclusively deciding which sites we can see or not see. Of course, we /. clever types can find ways around it, but again, it will be a constant fight from now on (like homebrew on a console or jailbreaking an iPhone, it will be a constant state of we-figure-out-a-new-workaround-they-find-a-way-to-block-it). What a shame.

Re:Days of the free internet are finally ending (1)

night_flyer (453866) | about 5 years ago | (#29994756)

you are close, but not quite there. The days of Freedom are finally ending... the Gov't is intruding into every aspect of our lives, telling us what we should eat, what we should drive, cameras are popping up everywhere, and we allowed them to do it to us.

Re:Days of the free internet are finally ending (1)

roguetrick (1147853) | about 5 years ago | (#29995158)

I agree, lets just figure out which halcyon days we want to get to:
90s: No, the brady bill and the copyright fiascos
80s: The war on drugs
70s: Vietnam Draft, Opec Embargo and the government muscle moving into that, Kent State shootings
60s: Vietnam, Civil Rights Abuses
50s: Red Scare, McCarthyisim

You know, I'm having a hard time finding just when things were great. Maybe we need to revoke universal sufferage and reinstute the alien and sedition acts?

warning (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | about 5 years ago | (#29994444)

why not simply have a warning like google and firefox give you if u open a harmful page, and give a choice to continue??

Re:warning (1)

rotide (1015173) | about 5 years ago | (#29994622)

Exactly, or simply a redirect to a "safe page" containing a warning with a link to the site you're trying to access. Maybe a government backed blacklist of sites to have ISP's redirect off of.


The site [url] has been known to host scam/phishing web pages. Pages on this site may appear legitimate but may in fact be fakes. These fakes have been known to steal your personal and/or banking information.

If you click the link below you will be taken to the site you were trying to reach. Visit at your own risk!

[Link to URL you were trying to access]

Probably a foul-up (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 5 years ago | (#29994520)

Looking at the wording of the law, I think the idea was to make the scammer's own ISP liable, not every ISP in the country. But that's not what it says; the law ends up covering every ISP from the scammer to the customer, including transit providers. Hopefully this thing will get killed.

Re:Probably a foul-up (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 5 years ago | (#29994788)

Looking at the wording of the law, I think the idea was to make the scammer's own ISP liable, not every ISP in the country. But that's not what it says; the law ends up covering every ISP from the scammer to the customer, including transit providers. Hopefully this thing will get killed.

If Congressmen can't even be bothered to read the bills on which they vote, we have little hope of common sense prevailing.

Re:Probably a foul-up (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | about 5 years ago | (#29995300)

Reading the bills doesn't matter if the Congresscritters don't understand the implications of what they are doing.

Doesn't this help the scammers? (1)

Caldrak (1185251) | about 5 years ago | (#29994612)

Great, so the bill is passed and Uncle Sam tells his people that they are safe from fraud. *Gasp* a new site pops up. But it's not on the blocked list. The people rejoice, they can once again help out the Nigerian Prince, and this time it's not a scam... ZOMG!!!!1 More people then ever get burned because they no longer have to apply common sense to the web, the govt is there to help them. I wouldn't be surprised if the site uses it's stats as not being on the list as a proof of legitimacy. By the time the site has been blocked, the scammers have made far more money then they would have in the same timeframe off the old site, and it's time to setup the next scam. Actually, now that I think about it, does anybody know if a Nigerian prince is somehow a lobbyist backing this bill, or at the very least, padding the pockets of the politicians?

Re:Doesn't this help the scammers? (1)

cdrguru (88047) | about 5 years ago | (#29995758)

The problem is, it isn't common sense. If I can register a domain like or similar things using real, trademarked names common sense almost doesn't apply anymore. A web site can get an SSL certificate for from some places as well.

The folks that should be preventing this have seriously dropped the ball. We have registrars which will register anything and SSL providers which will generate a certificate for anything. We jut recently went through the whole "extended validation" scam which pretends to have certificates which have real validation rather than just "you appear to really own this domain" validation. How long will it be until someone figures out there is a provider which will give out EV SSL certificates if you pay them enough? Not long, I trust.

So we can have a web site that looks completely legitimate, with a legitimate sounding domain name and SSL certificate to match. How does common sense enter into this for most people? Telling them that they will never, ever receive an email from their bank with a link in it? Sorry, a lot of banks are already violating that and sending out email with links.

This means the average person has no clue if they should be using or And they get an email from "" saying they should now use the new domain for all their transactions. I don't see how common sense applies any longer at all to this.

Hopefully, someone besides the government could see the absurdity of this and clamp down on the fraud sites. Should be pretty easy to find them and find the registrar that is making this all possible. But, if that isn't going to happen, we can expect some kind of government response. Law enforcement isn't going to work - it is probably legal to defraud Americans in many parts of the world.

How about a .bank domain (3, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | about 5 years ago | (#29994802)

Now I don't suggest we have a domain for everything, but ".bank" sounds like a good idea and something useful for that particular industry. Much like you need to be an educational institution to use .EDU or a government entity for .GOV, why not allow only properly registered banks to use a .bank domain, with some checks to ensure they're not scammy duplicates.

After a year or two, anything not using the ".bank" domain should hopefully raise enough suspicion to become fairly obvious as a scam.

Re:How about a .bank domain (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29995436)

Yes, excellent idea, except for two minor things: First, who decides what is a bank, and second, do we have a world-wide banking law already?

It is a national pastime in the USA to believe otherwise, but all the world is not the USA, in fact most .com, .org, and .net domains aren't in USAnian hands. Changing this for .bank would worsen the situation, not improve it.

I agree that a better situation would be nice, so I'd like .EDU, .MIL and .GOV moved under .US, and then you can have the US government sign .US and hand over delegation of .BANK.US to the FED for subdomain delegation conditional on a US banking licence, with a SSL certificate to go with it. Heck, make a for certified 501(c)(3) foundations and for certified incorporated american businesses and so on, and you can give them all government-signed domains and government-signed SSL certificates in the same deal. Then you can have your addressbar turn gold-plated FED-approved green logging on to a bank, and you wouldn't get half the world howling about USA high-handedness and world-wide banks vying for USA banking licences and such.

If you believe in freedom you have to respect other people's freedom too, and a top level .bank under USA rule is not very respectful in that respect. But in .us the USA is free to do whatever it pleases without interfering with anyone.

Democrats declare a scam site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29994870)

Could this happen?

Re:Democrats declare a scam site (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | about 5 years ago | (#29995342)

Not immediately, but I could see a creep in that direction. This law appears relatively narrow in its focus (only related to SIPC fraud), but mind-bogglingly wide in its scope (Any Internet service provider that ... transmits, routes, provides connections for, or stores any material containing any misrepresentation (of the SIPC) shall be liable for any damages ...) I think Obama would target Fox News before the GOP though.

Nose of the camel? (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | about 5 years ago | (#29994912)

If ISP's could successfully block all fraud sites, why not other sites that the government decides need to be blocked?

I suspect that's the larger agenda.

Re:Nose of the camel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29995338)

Take off your tinfoil hat please.

Specific enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29995000)

I guess I am not totally against this measure if it is specific enough. TFS states that this will affect only sites that claim to be SIPC ensured, that aren't. Since SIPC and FDIC are verifiable it would be verifiable to show that these places are not, in fact, insured. This, I have no problem with.

The slippery slope implications, and the ability of site owners to be informed of the blocking and challenge it on the grounds that either they are insured or they are not claiming to be are definitely troubling. If the law allows for un-blocking in reasonable time after responding to a block notice, (and allows the government or ISP to be sued for not removing them from the official list/unblocking the site after they are removed from the list, respectively) then I guess I can't complain too much.

People that claim credentials they do not have should not be given voice until they are not using that voice to claim certifiably false accreditation. Though I suppose it might be better to simple arrest them for fraud anyway.

Typical well-intentioned idiocy (1)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 5 years ago | (#29995006)

This clearly violates common-carrier protection, and would require complete monitoring of web-traffic. The idea is, of course, well-intentioned (stop financial scams) - but the actual effects of such a poorly thought-out law would be horrendous. Sort of like the DMCA, Patriot Act and all the other well-intentioned idiocy that has become law.

Obligatory checklist (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 5 years ago | (#29995120)

Congressman Kanjorski advocates a

( ) technical (X) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting phishing. His idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Phishers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
(X) Mailing lists and other legitimate Internet uses would be affected
(X) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop phishing for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of the Internet will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many Internet users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Phishers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
(X) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
(X) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
(X) Asshats
(X) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
(X) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
(X) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
(X) Extreme profitability of phishing
(X) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
(X) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with phishers
( ) Dishonesty on the part of phishers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
(X) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
(X) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
(X) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
(X) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
(X) I don't want the government reading my email
(X) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(X) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
house down!

Re:Obligatory checklist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29995420)

Mod parent +1 "I LMAO'd".

Finally... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 5 years ago | (#29995154)

Finally... the "censorship" tag is applied in a 100% appropriate context, and not because a corporation refuses to publish apps or something...

Yes, this is probably a troll - but the sentiment is a valid one. It's frustrating how often people get up in arms about "censorship" from various corporations where they sign up for/agree to the terms in the first place -- kind of waters down the meaning of the term.

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