Spammer 'bounty hunters' will need cash, FTC says

WASHINGTON--The U.S. government should be prepared to spend freely if it decides to encourage "bounty hunters" to track down e-mail spammers, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said Thursday. Rewards of up to $250,000 will be needed to encourage people to turn over friends or associates who send out millions of deceptive e-mail pitches in violation of the law, the FTC said. And that cash will have to come out of the federal budget, rather than settlements collected from spammers, the FTC said.

While millions of Internet users may be annoyed by spam, only a handful of insiders are likely to have enough information to form the basis of a case, the agency said. "The commission does not believe that the vast majority of consumers who are now forwarding 300,000 pieces of spam daily to the FTC spam database are likely to be a good source for such information," the FTC said in a report to Congress. Lawmakers asked the FTC to assess whether the government should encourage "cybersleuths" to help track down marketers who break the law by sending out deceptive pitches for herbal Viagra, pornography or other forms of spam.

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News source: news.com

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