A Federal Trade Commission official urged Congress on Thursday to reauthorize a bill granting the agency more power to combat online fraud, spyware, and spam.
The Safe Web Act of 2006 is vital to allowing the FTC to prevent online fraud aimed at Americans from overseas, Hugh Stevenson, the FTC’s deputy director for International Consumer Protection, told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade.
The act, which is set to expire next year, gives the FTC broader authority to share information with foreign governments; pursue more types of online fraud; and make criminal referrals.
“The act is key to strengthening a culture of mutual assistance that enables law enforcers to achieve greater results working together than they ever could alone,” Stevenson said. “Reauthorization of the act would enable the FTC to continue its current cross-border enforcement efforts and deal with new threats to U.S. consumers emanating from a growing number of jurisdictions.”
Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Chairwoman Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., has drafted legislation and on Thursday she urged lawmakers to cleanly reauthorize the act.
“Frankly, I’m concerned that e-commerce will cease to grow and flourish if consumers lose faith in their ability to be protected from online predators, jeopardizing future innovation as well as our nation’s fragile economic recovery,” she said.