The IAB commended Congress for passing provisions of the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act as part of H.R. 5938. The bill provides additional tools and resources to law enforcement agencies for tracking down and prosecuting cyber criminals, removes legal barriers to the prosecution of purveyors of malicious spyware, and allows for restitution to victims of identity theft.

“We appreciate the attention that Congress is giving to the important issues of combating identity theft and the proliferation of malicious spyware, and we support the approach taken in this legislation,” said Mike Zaneis, Vice President of Public Policy at the IAB “The passing of this bill supports the interactive advertising industry’s goal of increasing enforcement actions against bad actors whose criminal activity can tarnish the reputation of the online advertising industry.”

Identity theft is estimated by the Federal Trade Commission to affect 9 million Americans each year. Criminals can use spyware, which is malicious downloadable software, to facilitate identity theft.

“The threat of having consumers’ identities stolen and the proliferation of spyware can erode consumer confidence in the Internet and undermines legitimate advertising and e-mail practices,” Zaneis said. “IAB endorses the approach taken by Congress, which appropriately targets illegitimate conduct and provides law enforcement agencies with additional tools and resources to bring these criminals to justice. The language passed by Congress strikes the appropriate balance between the need for effective law enforcement and protection of legitimate industry practices.”