US SAFE WEB Act Signed Into Law Today

Today the FTC announced President G.W. Bush signed the US SAFE WEB Act into law.

“Statement by Federal Trade Commission Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras On US SAFE WEB Act Being Signed Into Law by President George W. Bush
I am grateful to President Bush for signing the US SAFE WEB Act into law. The Act will help the Federal Trade Commission fight a range of practices that harm
American consumers – including fraudulent spam, spyware, misleading health and safety advertising, privacy and security breaches, and telemarketing fraud.
These practices are increasingly global in nature, and the US SAFE WEB Act will improve the FTC’s ability to cooperate with its foreign counterparts to combat them.”

The US SAFE WEB Act is an acronym for “Undertaking Spam, Spyware,And Fraud Enforcement With Enforcers
across Borders Act of 2005” that was proposed in June 2005.
The FTC’s summary of the USA SAFE WEB Act is interesting.
A few key excerpts from the summary:

“Broadening Reciprocal Information Sharing. (US SAFE WEB Act ¬ß¬ß 4(a), 6(a)) Allows the FTC to share confidential information in its files in consumer protection matters with foreign law enforcers, subject to appropriate confidentiality assurances.”

“Expanding Investigative Cooperation. (US SAFE WEB Act ¬ß 4(b) (adding FTC Act ¬ß6(j))) Allows the FTC to conduct investigations and discovery to help foreign law enforcers in appropriate cases.”

“Obtaining More Information from Foreign Sources. (US SAFE WEB Act ¬ß 6(b)) Protects information provided by foreign enforcers from public disclosure if confidentiality is a condition of providing it. “

“Protecting the Confidentiality of FTC Investigations. (US SAFE WEB Act ¬ß 7) Safeguards FTC investigations in a defined range of cases by (1) generally protecting recipients of Commission CIDs from possible liability for keeping those CIDs confidential; (2) authorizing the Commission to seek a court order in appropriate cases to preclude notice by the CID recipient to the investigative target for a limited time; and (3) tailoring the mechanisms available to the Commission to seek delay of notification currently required by the Right to Financial Privacy Act (‚ÄúRFPA‚Äù) or the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (‚ÄúECPA‚Äù), to better fit FTC cases. Similar to longstanding RFPA, ECPA, and securities law provisions.”

“Protecting Certain Entities Reporting Suspected Violations of Law. (US SAFE WEB Act ¬ß 8) Protects a limited category of appropriate entities from liability for voluntary disclosures to the FTC about suspected fraud or deception, or about recovery of assets for consumer redress.”

“Allowing Information Sharing with Federal Financial and Market Regulators. (US SAFE WEB Act ¬ß 10) Adds the FTC to RFPA’s list of financial and market regulators allowed to readily share appropriate information. “

“Confirming the FTC’s Remedial Authority in Cross-Border Cases. (US SAFE WEB Act ¬ß 3) Expressly confirms: 1) the FTC’s authority to redress harm in the United States caused by foreign wrongdoers and harm abroad caused by U.S. wrongdoers; and 2) the availability in cross-border cases of all remedies available to the FTC, including restitution. Needed to avoid spurious challenges to jurisdiction in FTC cases and to encourage the full range of remedies for U.S. consumer victims in foreign courts”

“Enhancing Cooperation Between the FTC and DOJ in Foreign Litigation. (US SAFE WEB Act ¬ß 5) Permits the FTC to cooperate with DOJ in using additional staff and financial resources for foreign litigation of FTC matters. “

“Clarifying FTC Authority to Make Criminal Referrals. (US SAFE WEB Act ¬ß 4(b) (adding FTC Act ¬ß 6(k))) Expressly authorizes the FTC to make criminal referrals for prosecution when violations of FTC law also violate U.S. criminal laws.”

“Providing for Foreign Staff Exchange Programs. (US SAFE WEB Act ¬ß 9) Provides for foreign staff exchange arrangements between the FTC and foreign government authorities, and permits the FTC to accept reimbursement for its costs in these arrangements.”

“Authorizing Expenditure of Funds on Joint Projects. (US SAFE WEB Act ¬ß 4(b) (adding FTC Act ¬ß 6(l)), 4(c)) Authorizes the FTC to expend appropriated funds, not to exceed $100,000 annually, toward operating expenses and other costs of cooperative cross-border law enforcement projects and bilateral and multilateral meetings.”

“Leveraging FTC’s Resources Through Reimbursement, Gift Acceptance, and Voluntary and Uncompensated Services (US SAFE WEB Act ¬ß 11) Authorizes the FTC to accept reimbursement for providing assistance to law enforcement agencies in the U.S. or abroad, and to accept gifts and voluntary services in aid of the agency’s mission and consistent with ethical constraints. “

“Requiring Report to Congress. (US SAFE WEB Act ¬ß 13) Requires the FTC to report to Congress within three years after the enactment of this Act, describing the FTC’s use of its new authority and recounting the number and types of requests for informationsharing and investigative assistance, the disposition of such requests, the foreign law enforcement agencies involved, and the nature of the information provided and received.”

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