Internet Cop at FTC Targets Threats to Facebook, Twitter Users

July 9, 2010 04:31

Vladeck says Twitter failed to do enough to secure its site, allowing a hacker with a password-guessing program to commandeer customer accounts. After Facebook in April changed its privacy policy in a way that troubled some users, four U.S. senators filed a complaint with the FTC.

By Douglas MacMillan at

If you think you get too much spam, try visiting the second floor of the Federal Trade Commission building in Washington.

That’s where a computer server holds the world’s largest collection of spam e-mail — 314 million messages, with 200,000 more arriving every day. The machine sits in the agency’s Internet lab, a bunker crammed with electronic devices that help investigators hunt down spammers, spyware makers and identity thieves, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its July 12 issue.

Set up by Woodrow Wilson in 1914 as an antitrust watchdog, the FTC has steadily expanded its mandate to shield consumers from fraud and other deceptive business practices. Today it oversees everything from funeral homes to a national do-not-call registry for telemarketers. While antitrust and financial scams still top its agenda, the agency has taken fraud fighting digital over the past decade. It shut down spyware rings and outfits like 3FN, a Belize operation responsible for half of global spam until last year.

“We’re worried about fraudsters who can use the anonymity of technology to steal money or to cheat people in ways that are hard to detect,” says David Vladeck, head of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection.


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