FTC Cool to Spam Bounty Hunters

A bounty system for catching spammers would need to offer whistleblowers rewards of $100,000 to $250,000 to be effective, the Federal Trade Commission said.

The FTC issued a report on the feasibility of a bounty system last week as called for in the CAN-SPAM Act. Though not dismissing the idea that spam insiders could prove helpful in ferreting out information, the commission noted several hurdles to such a system in the 74-page report.

One problem would be the need to make bounties high enough to entice insiders to turn on their associates. Some informants would require payments as high as $250,000, the FTC said. Fear of legal action is another roadblock to recruiting informants.

The FTC concluded that Congress would need to fund a bounty system rather than pay bounty hunters from collected penalties.

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