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Username: anonymous
Date/Time: Sat, October 30, 1999 at 2:26 AM GMT (Fri, October 29, 1999 at 7:26 PM PDT)
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.0 using Windows NT
Score: 5
Subject: This has nothing to do with the agreements


This is an interesting discussion by the FTC enforcement staff about their travails in investigating consumer fraud. It makes the point that the FTC investigatory staff's lives might be a little easier if DNS service providers and their customers would just cooperate in turning the customer databases into an authenticated investigatory system for the FTC - at the time and expense of service providers and customers.

What they fail to address, however, is whether such a "investigatory system" would actually achieve that end - in view of the relative ease of fraud perpetrators to evade any reasonable controls.  They also fail to consider at all the costs, and the appropriateness of shifting the burden onto providers and customers for their investigatory database. 

Lastly, and most importantly, they fail to deal with the bases by which government (or anyone else for that matter) even lawfully imposes these kinds of requirements onto those maintaining private systems for creating name expressions for their own computer systems.  Internet users have the right to name their computer systems and remain anonymous if they so choose. 

If one needed a driver's license to use one's own computer, this scheme might just be feasible.  Until that occurs, the FTC proposition has no merit in policy or law.  This is an impermissibly wide enforcement net to cast under our system of freedom of expression.


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