Print 30 comment(s) - last by iNGEN.. on Dec 14 at 2:12 PM

New federal law supercedes state legislation

Last week, a federal law was passed that will have the practice of pretexting banned across the U.S. Federal legislators almost unanimously voted for pretexting to be an illegal action, on the same level as trying to obtain someone's financial records using false pretenses. DailyTech recently reported that California was in the process of passing a similar state law, but the MPAA stepped in, lobbying that it needed pretexting in order to go after pirates. The pretexting bill SB1666 was eventually shot down after the MPAA had its say.

Despite the small win for the MPAA in California however, the federal law passed by Congress supersedes California's laws, making MPAA's win short lived. Under the new law, anyone caught practicing pretexting will be fined up to $250,000 and face possible imprisonment for 10 years. A company caught in the act will be fined up to $500,000.

Pretexting was previously illegal in only 12 states across the U.S. Some states had pretexting in a gray area, where consumers would try to sue if they were victims, but there were no clear lines on what was legal and what wasn't. Now that the law is clear, all states must abide by the same legislation. The new law will also now govern the outcome of those involved in the recent pretexting case against HP.

Besides consumers, phone companies will also benefit from the new law. Consumer groups had been pushing phone companies to tighten their policies against revealing records. Generally, service providers must adhere to very strict privacy rules unless asked by a federal investigation. Some companies however, gave up records when asked by general lawyers. Phone companies must now adhere to the new law and are able to refuse record requests without trouble.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By encryptkeeper on 12/12/2006 2:56:32 PM , Rating: 5
Good victory for the consumer. Data can be attained so easily now with the Internet that new precedents like this one have to be set to protect the general public. I doubt anyone here will be crying any tears for the MPAA. I'm sure almost all of us have burned a DVD or two.

RE: Great!
By techfuzz on 12/12/2006 3:56:40 PM , Rating: 2
Good victory for the consumer

I agree, this is a good win.. not just for consumers, but for everyone. This new law could also be used against people who use some types of social engineering to gain access to secured systems to obtain secured data; although, I doubt it will do anything to deter those kind people.

RE: Great!
By FITCamaro on 12/12/2006 4:00:47 PM , Rating: 1
I agree. I thought that was BS when the MPAA basically paid off California lawmakers to not pass their bill (anyone who doubts money changed hands is ignorant). You won't see me crying any tears for the MPAA. I think they've sued enough children for now. I won't go as far to say its their own fault for not adopting to the times and for being greedy but they shouldn't complain that people are tired of their crap.

However, I fully support the Patriot Act. Thats not used by private companies to get dirt on you, its used by the government for 99% legitimate reasons(there's always abuse in any system, to believe otherwise is retarded). And if you complain that it violates your privacy, then you're probably doing something wrong because otherwise they won't even look at you (once again 99% of the time). And I've had cuffs on (me) experience in this area.

RE: Great!
By NaughtyGeek on 12/12/2006 4:22:52 PM , Rating: 5
Who dictates if what I'm doing is right or wrong? Today if I'm Muslim and have a friend oversees, that's enough for the government to bypass my right to due process. Tomorrow, maybe it's because I'm Republican and didn't vote Democrat. Saying they will only use their self imposed Constitution dodge to look at guilty people is exactly the mindset they're counting on. The Patriot Act is the beginning of the end of all civil liberties and you're attitude(if you're worried about it, you must be doing something wrong) is why the government will succeed.

Back OT, this is a step in the right direction but I doubt it will hinder the MPAA or RIAA in any way. They have too much money and therefore too much influence. It's the money that makes policy in this country, not the best interests of the people. If you don't believe that, then you're "retarded."

RE: Great!
By FITCamaro on 12/12/2006 6:02:01 PM , Rating: 3
I knew several Muslims in college as my school was almost 50% international students (and one of the schools responsible for training a few of the hijackers) and none of them "had their right to due process removed". If you actually believe the government has the time or the desire to monitor the communications between continents of every single Muslim person here in the states, then you my friend need to get a clue. Now if keywords such as "bomb", "explosive", etc are flagged in their email, yes they'll probably check into it. But 1) thats for anyone regardless of whether they're Muslim (or even Arab) or not and 2) if they see it was a harmless reference they won't think twice about it.

I use certain terms like that quite often when joking with friends on IM and if they've looked at my internet history(courtesy of my IP), email, or even logged my conversations, I really don't care. I'm not doing anything illegal. People seem to think that just because the Patriot Act was passed it means the next step is "we'll just arrest anyone who says the word 'bomb'" or something. I fully support any measure the government takes to ensure the security of this country. Now granted if they start invading homes in the middle of the night and dragging people off because they were joking with their friends and said "i wish the school would explode", then yes, I'll have an issue. But we are far from that.

Finally, if you honestly think the things our government does is anything different than what the other governments around the world do, you're sadly mistaken. If you want a lack of privacy and rights, go to China.

RE: Great!
By FITCamaro on 12/12/06, Rating: 0
RE: Great!
By NaughtyGeek on 12/12/2006 6:16:36 PM , Rating: 1
if they start invading homes in the middle of the night and dragging people off because they were joking with their friends and said "i wish the school would explode", then yes, I'll have an issue.

How will you know this is happening if those that have been drug off basically cease to exist? They're not entitled to a fair trial, representation, or contact with anyone without consent from the government under the Patriot Act. So, how will you know? Or, better yet, if you get taken away, how will you go about freeing yourself?

RE: Great!
By FITCamaro on 12/12/2006 9:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
Uh...because people still know I exist and will start asking questions when I stop showing up for work, answering my cell, don't call, etc. I think if people were just disappearing around the US with absolutely no sign, the media would start to take notice especially when no body turned up.

RE: Great!
By iNGEN on 12/14/2006 12:06:04 PM , Rating: 2
According to the bureau of crime statistics, approx. 25,000 people "disappear" each year in the US. The number fluctuates 2000-3000 each year. Remember, disappearances invoice missing persons leaving no evidence of criminal activity (foul play) who do not return for over a year. In reality almost none ever "show back up".

An agency adding 1000 - 2000 people to the list of disappearing persons would likely go unnoticed based on the number of disappearances.

Your confidence in the media is disturbing.

RE: Great!
By iNGEN on 12/14/2006 12:07:18 PM , Rating: 2
"invoice" was supposed to be "involve". Damned edit button....

RE: Great!
By mindless1 on 12/13/2006 6:08:02 AM , Rating: 2
As for the time or desire to monitor, that's why they've gone automated. Can they selectively single out Muslims? Doubtful they'd be that particular, and anyone up to no good would simply use an alternate communication not tied to them to avoid monitoring.

I DON'T support "any measure" the government decides to take, particularly when it treads on the freedoms we'd presumed we had. What is it we have left if in the name of security, we sacrifice that which we fought for all these years? The very freedom you have now to express your opinion, is just a few steps from being eroded away. Liberties are not taken all at once, they are eroded one at a time. THIS time it may not be one you care much about, but others do and next time, maybe you care more but others don't.

What makes you think that joking with friends couldn't result in being dragged out of your home? Wrongly interpreted by someone and reported to the *right* people, it sure as heck can happen! Never forget that just because something hasn't happened to you, personally, that doesn't mean it doesn't happen at all.

As for "thing our government does ... different than what other goverments around the world do", that is quite key. We strive to live in a democracy with certain freedoms, NOT like those other countries do! You are essentially acknowledging the problem then claiming it's ok if you personally aren't effected. That's not how it works, there's a standard of equality to consider.

RE: Great!
By theapparition on 12/13/2006 7:14:15 AM , Rating: 2
I'm right there with you. I the government wants to snoop in on any of my phonecalls, they can surely do so. At this point in my life, 99% of my calls are home to my wife to tell her what time I'm coming home and ask what's for dinner.........wait, why do all of a sudden I feel depressed?

On second thought, maybe they could come and arrest my wife for serving leftovers again. Teach her a friggin' lesson. /sarcasm

But seriously, let's get some things clear. There is no law right now against the government monitoring all internet traffic. That's why they hated PGP. Internet traffic also refers to Voice over IP. So even without the patriot act, the government can freely look at all your emails and listen to your VOIP calls. The only law it hops around is the phone. That's my own knowledge, someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

Maybe it justs me.......or maybe its that fantastic FIT education that I had(and you, FITcamaro, I suspect from you handle and another post). Bet they're more careful in the flight school now! Or maybe I feel the same way because I've owned "Bowties" my entire life. Either way, I agree with you.

And I don't buy the "But they will just use it to snoop on you in the future." argument. Good! Hopefully, there will be a national ID program, and they will find everyone ILLEGAL in this country and deport them (<--clarify, I'm pro-immigration, just don't want anyone in this country who is not accounted for). Sorry for the rant.

As for the article, I'm worried about that $500,000 company fine. It should be signifigantly higher. If the RIAA or MPAA settles each defendant for an average of $1,000,000, it only makes good business sense to do it anyway. Reminds me of how the EPA max daily fine is $25,000. Many companies gladly paid the daily fine because they saved them $100,000 a day by instead dumping toxic waste in the stream behind the building.

RE: Great!
By iNGEN on 12/14/2006 2:12:08 PM , Rating: 2
We are talking about private industry here folks. NOT GOVERNMENT! They are distinctly different and require very different methods to regulate.

When are you people going to learn. Your wallet is your voice! Bitching about company policies will get you almost no where. STOP BUYING THEIR PRODUCTS if you disagree with their policies. Follow-up your non-purchasing behavior with a simple, non-threatening, non-defamatory letter to the VP of sales that you would gladly change your future buying decisions if the company changed whatever policy concerns you to the way you would prefer.

Businesses are driven by the profit motive. Make your communications centered around the profit motive and you will see surprisingly more favorable response.

RE: Great!
By encryptkeeper on 12/13/2006 12:23:18 PM , Rating: 2
if they start invading homes in the middle of the night and dragging people off because they were joking with their friends and said "i wish the school would explode", then yes, I'll have an issue.

Man, you do NOT want to give the government an inch because they will take a mile. Don't think that this is impossible in the US, because it's not.

RE: Great!
By encryptkeeper on 12/13/2006 12:19:46 PM , Rating: 3
In all respect to your comment, I would absolutely LOVE to believe that 99% of the time the Patriot Act is used to circumvent conventional steps to get a hold of someone looking to do a terrorist act. But at the same time, there are some slippery slopes I'd rather this country just not get on. The ability to spy on US citizens with no warrant violates the innocent until proven guilty ideal, which is one of the things that makes this country great. So we don't always get to convict the guilty, well, that happens. The system is designed so as many guilty people are convicted while protecting the innocent. But I'd rather that happen than have that 1% wind up being me or someone I know because of an overzealous government making poor decisions.

To Catch a Predator
By Quasmo on 12/12/2006 3:25:44 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't this also mean that the people with "to catch a predator" are breaking the law.

RE: To Catch a Predator
By TomZ on 12/12/2006 3:57:17 PM , Rating: 1
I hope not - it is entertaining and satisfying to watch those perverts/criminals get thrown in jail.

RE: To Catch a Predator
By GoodRevrnd on 12/12/2006 7:30:09 PM , Rating: 2
I was wondering the same thing, in a broader sense. Isn't undercover police work basically pretexting?

RE: To Catch a Predator
By Live on 12/13/2006 4:53:19 AM , Rating: 2
Law enforcement, military and other intelligence work is usually governed by other laws that go above and beyond the "regular" ones. So it seems highly unlikely that they will be affected by this.

RE: To Catch a Predator
By mindless1 on 12/13/2006 5:56:07 AM , Rating: 2
If police had to obey all laws, how would they ever catch speeding drivers?

RE: To Catch a Predator
By Spivonious on 12/13/2006 1:37:58 PM , Rating: 2
Police and any law enforcement body needs "just cause" to do anything. To search your house they need to prove to a judge that there is a reason to, and they even need to state exactly what they're looking for. It's the same thing with phone taps. If the police are listening for evidence on a mob hit and the call starts out with "Hi hunny, I'm running late. What's for dinner?" they are legally bound to stop listening to the call.

Where things get fuzzy is when the Internet is brought in. Are VoIP calls the same as phone calls? Are emails the same as snail mail? Are chat logs the same as phone calls? These are all questions that need to be answered.

For those of you who are for the "Patriot" Act, sure seeing that you surf to porn sites every night might not bother you, but this is just the first step. If left unchecked, this will escalate into a very scary future. 1984 anyone?

Govern the outcome?
By DaBoSSs on 12/12/2006 3:43:47 PM , Rating: 3
It would be nice to think this law would determine the outcomes of the HP case, but the US constitution still forbides such acts - Art1 Sec 9 - would be an "ex post facto" act. The intent of Congress may be expressed, but it was not the law of the land when the act was committed or when the charges were made.

RE: Govern the outcome?
By TomZ on 12/12/2006 4:00:06 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed - when this gets signed into law (or maybe it did already), it should not affect the HP case at all.

Anyway, HP already paid the State of California enough to make those charges "disappear" anyway.

RE: Govern the outcome?
By Zandros on 12/12/2006 4:54:26 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly what I was thinking. It is important that you can't make things illegal in retrospect.

By meetoblivion on 12/12/2006 6:04:09 PM , Rating: 2
Does anyone happen to know if the ruling is retroactive at all? If so, could be a problem for the MPAA.

RE: Retroactive?
By UserDoesNotExist on 12/13/2006 12:42:58 PM , Rating: 2
As someone already stated, the ruling won't be retroactive due to the "ex post facto laws" clause of the Constitution.

I'm all for the rights of IP holders to protect their copyright in a legal manner, but the MPAA was trying to keep pretexting legal? WTF? That makes them as guilty as the pirates.

By S3anister on 12/12/2006 11:30:01 PM , Rating: 2
Has the MPAA turned into the freaking next Nazi party? seriously what i've been reading about what they're doing lately makes me think that they are trying to take over our rights...

By AKAK on 12/13/2006 2:24:23 PM , Rating: 2
Has the MPAA turned into the freaking next Nazi party? seriously what i've been reading about what they're doing lately makes me think that they are trying to take over our rights...

Sadly yes.

Harrasment lawsuitsand coplyright lawsuits seem the rule of the day for those wheo can compete in the open market.

The worst thing may not be that MPAA doenst have good legal grounds and is slowly corrupting the political and legal enviroment. Forget the fact that it prevents consumers from getting the quality of content they want to lpay for but simply cant get. They are bleeding online sellers and potental consumers and really noting could make them happyer.

The big record compabnys and movie people foughtradio tape players, video cassets, CD's TV and to be honist just about any kind of change big buisness would love to be big brother.

By CascadingDarkness on 12/12/2006 3:18:41 PM , Rating: 3
Me parrot can breathe easier now.

Couldn't help myself =)

By cciesquare on 12/12/2006 4:28:37 PM , Rating: 2
I am sure that the phone companies and the large ISPs had something to do with this. The MPAA has been on their case for years and now this gives them leverage.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
Related Articles

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki