Senator serves up tasty anti-phishing act

Senator Patrick Leahy has taken another aim at phishers by reintroducing his Anti-Phishing Act of 2004.

The act, which will impose fines of up to $250,000 per conviction and up to five years in prison makes it illegal to knowingly send out spoofed email that links to fake websites with the intention of committing a crime.

"Phishing is a rapidly growing class of identity theft scams on the Internet that is causing both short-term losses and long-term economic damage," said Senator Leahy in a statement introducing his bill. "By making consumers uncertain about the integrity of the internet's complex addressing system, phishing threatens to make us all less likely to use the Internet for secure transactions."

The Anti-Phishing Act makes it a criminal act to create emails that link to websites, it also criminalizes any sham websites that have been created purely for that purpose.

Under the First Amendment the new act contains clauses that protect parodies and political speech.

In January SC reported the US Government was working on introducing the Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act (Spy Act) which seeks to prevent spyware infecting personal computers.

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