Legislation imposing stiffer penalties and prison terms for criminal acts involving computer fraud. The Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act of 2008 allows victims of identity theft to seek restitution for time and money spent in restoring credit. The legislation also expands the federal definition of cyber extortion to include a demand for money in relation to damage to a protected computer. The Federal Trade Commission estimates some nine million Americans annually are victims of identity theft.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte finally got his computer fraud bill out
of Congress and headed to the White House for President Bush's signature.
Although the Virginia Republican has managed to win House approval for his bill
three different times, the Senate has just as consistently failed top act on
But Sept. 16, the House added the provisions of
Goodlatte's bill to the Former Vice President Protection Act of 2008 and win
approval from both the House and the Senate. Goodlatte's bill is known as the
Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act of 2008.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) estimates identity
theft affects nine million Americans annually. Criminals use spyware, which is
malicious software usually installed without a user's permission, to facilitate
identity theft.The bill amends the federal criminal code to expand
interstate and foreign jurisdiction for prosecution of computer fraud offenses
and imposes criminal and civil forfeitures of property used to commit computer
fraud offenses. In addition, the legislation makes it a felony to damage 10 or
more protected computers used by or for the federal government or a financial
institution.The legislation also expands the federal definition of
cyber extortion to include a demand for money in relation to damage to a
protected computer, where such damage was caused to facilitate the extortion.
It also allows victims of identity theft to obtain restitution for time and
money spent to restore credit and imposes a fine and imprisonment for
installing spyware on a computer.Goodlatte called the legislation a "good first
step" in battling spyware purveyors and a "huge victory for consumers." "Just as we would expect a burglar to face criminal charges for invadiing a home and stealing property, we should expect the same from people who break into our computers to gather personal information," Goodlatte said in a statement.The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) praised the passage of the legislation."The
passing of this bill supports the interactive advertising industry's goal of
increasing enforcement actions against bad actors whose criminal activity can
tarnish the reputation of the online advertising industry," Mike Zaneis,
the IAB's vice president of public policy, said in a statement. "IAB
endorses the approach taken by Congress, which appropriately targets
illegitimate conduct and provides law enforcement agencies with additional
tools and resources to bring these criminals to justice."