Internet Commerce


The rapid increase in the number of internet users and the greater availability of high-speed internet connections has led to substantial growth in e-commerce. A sharp increase in internet fraud and a tidal wave of unsolicited commercial e-mails, commonly known as spam, have followed. Consumers are losing money to internet fraud. The Federal Bureau of Investigation found that internet fraud caused more than $1.4 billion in reported losses in 2017. This is likely a low estimate, as so many instances of fraud, including internet fraud, go unreported.



Protections against spam

Consumers should be protected against email spam. They should be able easily to opt out of receiving emails. It should be unlawful to misrepresent the sender, subject, or content of e-mail. Regulators should create and enforce a do-not-spam list. Violators should face criminal penalties.

Federal legislation should not preempt states’ right to strengthen their anti-spam protections.

Regulatory options for controlling spam

The Federal Trade Commission should make it unlawful to misrepresent the sender, subject, or content of a spam message; fail to provide reliable contact information or a reliable opt-out system; or violate a prior opt-out request.