PRESS RELEASE BY THE MAJORITY PRESS OFFICE
(Juneau) - The Alaska House of Representatives today passed HB7, a bill that makes misrepresenting telephone caller identification a class "A" misdemeanor. Current state law does not fine or otherwise punish the practice of "spoofing," or using false caller identification software or tools.
Rep. Bob Lynn said, "Alaskans need to be able to trust their telephone caller ID," Lynn said. "We have to keep ahead of the technology already available on-line and anywhere else to protect consumers and maybe our very lives. Not only could this enable economic fraud, but it could also cost your life. Imagine if some predator calls your spouse or child, claiming to represent a bank or other entity in order to gain personal information like your home address. Imagine the inherent danger - sexual assault, spousal or verbal abuse - that so-called 'spoofing' can engender if used by the wrong types of people.
"HB 7 amends state consumer protection statutes by adding a new section that states a person may not, with the intent to defraud, make a call or engage in other conduct that results in the display of false caller identification on a recipient's phone. The bill does not apply to law enforcement agencies of federal, state or municipal government, or intelligence or security agencies of the federal government.
"This is very dangerous stuff, and this bill puts a penalty on anyone in Alaska who uses false telephone caller ID with the intent to defraud," Lynn said. "It's a pro-active bill whose time has come. Imagine what could happen if we don't do the best we can to stay ahead of the bad guys. This bill gives law enforcement another tool to work with to combat consumer crime." HB 7 has been referred to the Senate for its consideration.