WARNING: DON'T TRUST YOUR TELEPHONE CALLER IDENTIFICATION
"Madame Chair, and Honorable Members of the Judiciary Committee.
Warning! You’d better be careful when you check the name and number on your telephone Caller ID – it could be phony. Well, it could be a prank – like the Caller ID reads President Bush, or Sharon Stone, or maybe even Elvis Presley - that may be irritating, maybe even funny, but it’s not that dangerous, not likely to cause a major problem.
But, there is an ominous and dark side to a phoney name on your caller ID. A child molester could be calling your kids, and the name on the Caller ID could be that of a trusted person. Or the Caller ID may indicate the police, or the school, or your doctor’s office, when it’s not. That is scary stuff.
For those of us in public office, or campaigning for election - some bad actor could use your name on the Caller ID and send out a political message that destroys your good reputation. Congressman Tim Murphy from Pennsylvania is on line in Washington DC to tell you about his bad experience with Caller ID spoofing.
The power to create serious mischief with Caller ID spoofing technology is almost unlimited – from simple pranks, to spying, to telemarketing and fraud, to enticing victims to dangerous locations for rape or murder.
There are two kinds Caller ID spoofing: commercial spoofing operations that originate in other states, and even other nations. These commercial operations advertise their nefarious services all over the Internet.
There are some samples of that in your packet. These out-of-state commercial operations are basically a problem facing the Federal Communications Commission and the FBI, and there’s not much we can do about it here – except to publicize the threat.
On the other hand, Alaska can take a small but essential step to combat the problem. That’s what this bill is all about. The technology and programming that enables Caller ID spoofing is fairly simple to anyone in Alaska who is a computer geek and telephone savvy. Such an Alaskan could, in fact, set up a commercial spoofing operation here. That’s possible. But more likely, such a person could conduct a private spoofing operation that could mirror commercial operations – and thereby mirror the dangers of spoofing from outside Alaska. This is the person this bill is aimed at.
Actually, a person doesn’t have to be that computer savvy. They could purchase a spoofing calling card and insert it into a Caller ID here.
HB 308 will make it class B misdemeanor – which means they can be imprisoned for up to 90 days - for any person who inserts false information into a Caller ID system, except for legitimate law enforcement agencies.
HB 308 is a simple measure. It doesn’t get into the technological complexities of exactly how the spoofing gets from the hand of the culprit, to the display on your Alaska Caller ID. With this bill, very simply, if you insert false Caller ID information into a Caller ID system, however you do it, a crime has been committed.
Your support of this timely, proactive, cutting edge legislation is respectfully requested. Thank you."
NOTE: House Bill 308 was successfuly passed out of Judiciary Committee. Next stop in the legislative pipeline is the House Finance Committee.