Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Intertubes Are Still Clogged

If Al Gore is the inventor of the Internet, than Senator Ted "tubes" Stevens is the plumber.

Senator Stevens, yes the very same Ted Stevens that brought us the $250 million bridge to nowhere and is currently the target of a Federal corruption investigation, has brought us yet another well thought out and insightful piece of Internet legislation.

This time he's targeting phishing scams. Phishing is the act of tricking someone into giving them confidential information over the Internet by making fake websites or emails designed to look like major banking institutions or other businesses.

What's the problem? Well, let us tell you.

There are already laws on the books that specifically make phishing illegal. These same laws also carry the very same penalties Stevens' new law requires.

So why do we need a new law? It's simple, well simple for those that have such a sound knowledge of the Intertubes and their workings as Senator Stevens does.

Senator Stevens' new law would make it illegal for people to provide false information when they register a domain name and illegal for domain name registrars to provide WHOIS privacy or use other systems to mask the ownership information of domain names.

A domain name, for example, is a necessary component of web site hosting and email services on the Internet. For years, WHOIS databases have been open to the public allowing anyone who can use a web browser to find out who owns and administers any domain name. Because spammers and other junk emailers have increasingly used this information to disseminate their garbage, domain registrars have started offering services that allow domain owners to keep their contact information private. This cuts down on the tremendous load of garbage that is clogging Senator Stevens tubes. No, not those tubes, the Intertubes.

If this bill is to become law, we not only will have yet another little bit of our privacy stripped away from us by the federal government, but we can be sure spammers won't hesitate to continue to exploit the system.

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