California Enacts First Anti-Phishing Law  
  30 September 2005

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed California's "Anti-Phishing Act of 2005" into law, making Internet "Phishing" scams a punishable offense, with victims able to seek damages of up to a half-million dollars per violation or actual damages, whichever is greater.

The new law identifies the crime as "any attempt to solicit, request, or take any action to induce another person to divulge personal information on the Internet via a web page, electronic mail message, or any other electronic means, while representing oneself as a business without the permission or authority of that business".

  This new legislation seeks to protect personal information, bank account numbers, driver's license records, and Social Security numbers, and covers automated and electronic signatures, account passwords, unique biometric data, and "any other piece of information that can be used to access an individual's financial accounts or to obtain goods or services."

As goes California, so goes the nation, so look for more of this kind of legislation, nationwide, in the coming months.  Is this going to finally stop those nasty "phishing" attacks, with phony email from PayPal, eBay, major banking institutions, etc.?

Well, in a word, no.  Most current attacks against U.S. Internet users come from places like Eastern Europe, Asia, or even small Pacific Island nations.  With no extradition treaties in place with many of these principalities, and with no enforcement arm available on a global basis, local state law, or even federal legislation has, to date, had very little effect on criminal activity in cyberspace, and this legislation is predicted to be no different.

Another arrow in the collective quiver, but once again, we've brought arrows to a gunfight...  stay tuned for further evolution of e-Business and e-Law.