Legislature(2005 - 2006)

03/29/2006 02:36 PM JUD


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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HB 308 - CALLER ID HACKERS                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:38:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  announced that the  first order of  business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  308,  "An  Act  relating  to  false  caller                                                               
identification."  [In committee  packets was a proposed committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB 308,  Version  24-LS0779\F,  Bannister,                                                               
1/25/06.]                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:38:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TIM MURPHY,  Congressman, U.S. House of  Representatives, relayed                                                               
that in October,  2005, his office in  Pittsburgh received nearly                                                               
100  calls  from  constituents   who'd  received  recorded  phone                                                               
messages  that were  politically  critical of  him;  what was  of                                                               
particular  concern  was  that  the  caller  identification  (ID)                                                               
number that appeared on the  constituents' phones was that of his                                                               
congressional office.  He went on to say:                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Needless  to  say,  the  calls did  not  come  from  my                                                                    
     office,  and my  constituents  were confused,  annoyed,                                                                    
     and  asked  me  to  stop   making  the  calls.    Their                                                                    
     complaints,  in  fact, tied  up  my  phone line  in  my                                                                    
     district  office  for  a  good two  days.    The  calls                                                                    
     stated, in  their recording,  that they  were sponsored                                                                    
     by an unknown  group called, "We the  People" that have                                                                    
     lobbed  similar   calls  from   the  districts   of  my                                                                    
     colleagues   in  Congress.     Stealing,   masking,  or                                                                    
     otherwise  altering  one's   caller  identification  is                                                                    
     certainly  a  deceptive,  unaccountable  practice  that                                                                    
     exasperates citizens.   When  these calls  are directed                                                                    
     at  elected  officials,  these anonymous  attacks  also                                                                    
     undermine   the  political   process,  which   is  [an]                                                                    
     important part of the democracy.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     And  those who  commit  caller ID  fraud for  political                                                                    
     reasons  are   essentially  the  snipers   of  politics                                                                    
     because  they anonymously  fire  attacks at  candidates                                                                    
     and  public  officials  without accountability  or  the                                                                    
     possibility of a  truthful rebuttal.  As  it turns out,                                                                    
     the information they were providing  in these calls was                                                                    
     false.   What's important to  bear in mind is,  I think                                                                    
     they're motivated by  the idea that if  they convince 1                                                                    
     out  of 100  people  that they  call, these  fraudulent                                                                    
     callers   would  likely   consider  their   campaign  a                                                                    
     success,  and that's  why they  continue to  do that  -                                                                    
     they don't  really care  how many  constituents they've                                                                    
     bothered along the way.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     But consider the effects of  the false use of caller ID                                                                    
     in  other areas.   Past  federal and  state efforts  to                                                                    
     block  unwanted  phone solicitations  with  do-not-call                                                                    
     lists [were]  ... supposed to provide  some privacy for                                                                    
     citizens, but  when someone hijacks your  phone number,                                                                    
     they can  bypass that  protection.   In the  U.S. House                                                                    
     [of  Representatives],   I'm  working,  now,   with  my                                                                    
     colleagues, to  enact legislation that stops  those who                                                                    
     engage in this misleading [indisc.].   Why?  Because of                                                                    
     some of the problems it causes.   The reason to enact a                                                                    
     law  to penalize  caller ID  fraud is  not just  ... to                                                                    
     protect  politicians,  but   ...  to  protect  American                                                                    
     families,  because  illegally  using  another  person's                                                                    
     phone    number   could    have   limitless    unlawful                                                                    
     applications,   including  being   used  for   physical                                                                    
     threats to other citizens,  businesses, schools, and so                                                                    
     on.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     And  of  course it  doesn't  take  much imagination  to                                                                    
     understand  how dangerous  this  ability  could be  for                                                                    
     unlawful people:   criminals seeking personal financial                                                                    
     information  from citizens  by falsely  using a  bank's                                                                    
     phone  number; a  pedophile stalking  children using  a                                                                    
     school's phone  number; ... a  sexual predator  using a                                                                    
     doctor's office  phone number; [or] a  terrorist making                                                                    
     threats from  a government phone  number.  So  I salute                                                                    
     your  efforts to  fight back  against  caller ID  fraud                                                                    
     perpetrators,  and I'm  going  to continue  my work  to                                                                    
     enact  caller ID  fraud protection  for all  Americans.                                                                    
     In the  meantime, I'm pleased  that my  good colleagues                                                                    
     in Alaska are  working hard at this  and really setting                                                                    
     up a  pace of leadership  for our nation that  the rest                                                                    
     of   the   states   should  follow,   and   urge   your                                                                    
     considerations  to  enact  this  bill  to  protect  all                                                                    
     Alaskans.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CONGRESSMAN MURPHY, in response to a question, relayed that he                                                                  
represents the 18th congressional district of Pennsylvania.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked what kind of sanctions or penalties                                                                   
are being proposed via the aforementioned federal legislation.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CONGRESSMAN MURPHY said they were still exploring options,                                                                      
options such as levying a fine for each instance of a call;                                                                     
researching  how  the  Federal  Communications  Commission  (FCC)                                                               
proposes to  deal with  this issue;  or adding a  fine on  top of                                                               
some other criminal penalty.   Using fraudulent caller ID numbers                                                               
is  not a  matter of  free  speech, and  the goal  is to  protect                                                               
people  from  those that  would  use  such numbers  for  criminal                                                               
purposes.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:44:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT  moved  to   adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB 308,  Version  24-LS0779\F,  Bannister,                                                               
1/25/06, as the work draft.   There being no objection, Version F                                                               
was before the committee.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:44:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BOB LYNN, Alaska  State Legislature, sponsor, said                                                               
that one  should be careful when  looking at the name  and number                                                               
provided by  a telephone caller  ID mechanism because  they could                                                               
be phony; the fraudulent use of  names and numbers in this manner                                                               
could be part of a joke, but it  could also be part of a criminal                                                               
activity.  A  child molester could be calling  one's children, or                                                               
a person could be claiming to  be the police or a school official                                                               
or one's doctor's  office.  Someone could use this  form of fraud                                                               
to  destroy  another's good  reputation.    The power  to  create                                                               
serious mischief  with caller ID "spoofing"  technology is almost                                                               
unlimited, from  simple pranks, to  spying, to  telemarketing, to                                                               
fraud, and to enticing victims to dangerous locations.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN opined that although  the FCC and the Federal                                                               
Bureau  of  Investigation  (FBI)  are  most  often  the  entities                                                               
dealing  with  caller  ID  spoofing, Alaska  can  take  steps  by                                                               
publicizing the  threat and  making it a  class B  misdemeanor to                                                               
insert  false information  into a  caller ID  system.   The bill,                                                               
however,  does contain  an exemption  for  municipal, state,  and                                                               
federal law  enforcement agencies.   He  concluded by  asking for                                                               
support for the legislation.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:48:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DIRK  MOFFATT, Staff  to Representative  Bob  Lynn, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  sponsor, added  on  behalf  of Representative  Lynn                                                               
that a  "spoof card"  - a  sample of which  has been  provided in                                                               
members' packets - can be purchased  for between $10 and $40, and                                                               
that such  cards allow the  caller to  change the number  that is                                                               
displayed on someone  else's caller ID system or  even change the                                                               
sound of the  caller's own voice; if one can  use a calling card,                                                               
one can "caller spoof."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  asked what the penalty  is for impersonating                                                               
a police officer.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN said he didn't know.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT   questioned  whether  it  is   a  crime  to                                                               
impersonate   others,   particularly   those  in   positions   of                                                               
authority.     He   offered  his   belief   that  under   certain                                                               
circumstances, a  class B misdemeanor  is too low a  penalty, and                                                               
asked the sponsor  whether he'd given thoughts  to increasing the                                                               
level of penalty  should one be caught  attempting to impersonate                                                               
a  police  officer via  fraudulent  caller  ID technology.    For                                                               
example,  a person  could  call up  a homeowner,  claim  to be  a                                                               
police officer, instruct  the homeowner to vacate the  home for a                                                               
specified period  of time, and  then burgle the home  during that                                                               
timeframe.   Could a higher penalty  be imposed if such  a person                                                               
were caught before  the successful completion of  the burglary if                                                               
fraudulent caller ID technology was used?                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN said  he is assuming that there  is a penalty                                                               
for  impersonating  a police  officer,  or,  if there  isn't  one                                                               
currently, there certainly  should be.  He  characterized the use                                                               
of spoofing  technology to impersonate  a police officer  as more                                                               
egregious  behavior   than  if  such  technology   were  used  to                                                               
impersonate  some other  type of  person,  and thus  he would  be                                                               
friendly towards any  amendment that would raise  the penalty for                                                               
impersonating a police  officer via the use  of fraudulent caller                                                               
ID technology.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE  noted  that  there  are  statutes  pertaining  to                                                               
criminal  impersonation   in  the   first  degree   and  criminal                                                               
impersonation  in  the  second  degree  -  AS  11.46.565  and  AS                                                               
11.46.570:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 11.46.565.   Criminal  impersonation in  the first                                                                    
     degree.                                                                                                                    
          (a) A person commits the crime of criminal                                                                            
     impersonation in the first degree if the person                                                                            
          (1) possesses an access device or identification                                                                      
     document of another person;                                                                                                
          (2) without authorization of the other person,                                                                        
     uses the  access device  or identification  document of                                                                    
     another  person   to  obtain  a   false  identification                                                                    
     document, open  an account at a  financial institution,                                                                    
     obtain  an   access  device,  or  obtain   property  or                                                                    
     services; and                                                                                                              
          (3) recklessly damages the financial reputation                                                                       
     of the other person.                                                                                                       
          (b) Criminal impersonation in the first degree is                                                                     
     a class B felony.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 11.46.570.   Criminal impersonation in  the second                                                                    
     degree.                                                                                                                    
          (a) A person commits the crime of criminal                                                                            
     impersonation in the second degree if the person                                                                           
          (1) assumes a false identity and does an act in                                                                       
     the assumed character with intent  to defraud, commit a                                                                    
     crime, or obtain  a benefit to which the  person is not                                                                    
     entitled; or                                                                                                               
          (2) pretends to be a representative of some                                                                           
     person  or   organization  and  does  an   act  in  the                                                                    
     pretended  capacity with  intent to  defraud, commit  a                                                                    
     crime, or obtain  a benefit to which the  person is not                                                                    
     entitled.                                                                                                                  
          (b) Criminal impersonation in the second degree                                                                       
     is a class A misdemeanor.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT surmised, then,  that under AS 11.46.570, the                                                               
person could be charged with a class A misdemeanor.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  concurred, but  noted that HB  308 provides  for a                                                               
class B misdemeanor penalty.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  said it  seems  as  though it  would  be                                                               
difficult  to either  prove a  person used  fraudulent caller  ID                                                               
technology, or to track down someone who has used it.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  suggested  that  it might  be  possible  to                                                               
backtrack to the person who is using such technology.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE, in response to  questions, pointed out that HB 308                                                               
provides for  a mental  state of  "knowingly," and  surmised that                                                               
someone might be charged with  this particular crime once another                                                               
crime  is committed  or a  complaint is  received and  the victim                                                               
reports  that  he/she received  a  phone  call from  someone  who                                                               
turned  out to  not be  the person  listed on  his/her caller  ID                                                               
system.   For  example,  one  could report  that  one's child  is                                                               
getting repeated phone  calls from someone who seems  to be using                                                               
fraudulent caller  ID technology,  and then that  situation could                                                               
be investigated by law enforcement.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL pondered  whether  they  were creating  a                                                               
crime that can't be enforced.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  acknowledged that  this type of  crime could                                                               
be  very hard  to prove,  but  offered his  understanding that  a                                                               
fraudulent caller ID would be recorded  on a caller ID system and                                                               
so someone might be caught in that fashion.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE remarked that "knowingly" is a high standard.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:57:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT  DOUGLAS, PrivacyToday.com,  relayed that  he's spent  the                                                               
last   nine  years   as  an   information  security   consultant,                                                               
specifically  examining information  brokers and  others who  use                                                               
various types of  deceit in order to  obtain personal information                                                               
and, in many  cases, sell it on the Internet.   He mentioned that                                                               
he  recently  testified in  the  House  and  Senate of  the  U.S.                                                               
Congress on  [certain] issues, including  the issue of  caller ID                                                               
spoofing.   Mr.  Douglas said  that he  would like  to adopt  the                                                               
comments made  by Congressman Murphy and  Representative Lynn and                                                               
point  out that  the services  are  being used  at a  substantial                                                               
volume.    Furthermore,  there are  investigations  underway  and                                                               
although those investigations are  in their infancy, it's evident                                                               
that these  services and devices  are being used  successfully to                                                               
deceive  both consumers  and American  businesses into  divulging                                                               
proprietary and personal information.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOUGLAS said  that these devices are also  being used against                                                               
banks, companies, and  the military.  Furthermore,  they are used                                                               
in corporate espionage,  defeating the federal and  state "do not                                                               
call" lists,  and by pedophiles  and stalkers.  He  then referred                                                               
to a  case that  occurred in  New Hampshire  in which  deceit was                                                               
used  in a  murder case.   He  explained that  a woman  named Amy                                                               
Boyer was stalked  by a number of  years by a Liam Uen.   Mr. Uen                                                               
was documenting  the stalking  and his intent  to kill  Ms. Boyer                                                               
and others.   Moreover, Mr. Uen  went to a number  of information                                                               
brokers to obtain  personal information about Ms.  Boyer in order                                                               
to assist him  in conducting the murder.  Mr.  Uen used a company                                                               
that  called Ms.  Boyer's mother  pretending to  be an  insurance                                                               
company  that had  a  refund  for Ms.  Boyer  that  needed to  be                                                               
processed through  her employer.   Ms. Boyer's mother  thought it                                                               
was  a  legitimate  request  and turned  over  Ms.  Boyer's  work                                                               
address.   Within weeks, Ms. Boyer  was gunned down at  her place                                                               
of employment.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOUGLAS  opined that  the aforementioned  example graphically                                                               
illustrates that  if these services  can be used to  convince the                                                               
recipient of a  phone call that they are from  an organization to                                                               
which  the information  can be  legitimately  released, the  more                                                               
likely they are  to succeed.  He posited that  there is really no                                                               
legitimate  purpose   for  these   services,  and   therefore  he                                                               
applauded the introduction of HB 308.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG referred to page  1, line 6, and offered                                                               
his belief that  a national security agency  may potentially have                                                               
to do  this.  Therefore,  he questioned whether the  language "or                                                               
national  security   agency"  should   be  inserted   after  "law                                                               
enforcement agencies".                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:02:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN said that he  would accept the aforementioned                                                               
as a friendly amendment.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  made  a  motion  to  adopt  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1, to insert, on page  1, line 6, after the words, "law                                                               
enforcement   agencies",  the   words,   "or  national   security                                                               
agencies".  There being no  objection, Conceptual Amendment 1 was                                                               
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE, after  ascertaining that  no one  else wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HB 308.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA   said  that   he  couldn't  think   of  any                                                               
unintended consequences  of this legislation, but  suggested that                                                               
some thought  be given  to any possibilities.   He  surmised that                                                               
political polls  would be swept  in by this legislation  as well,                                                               
which he  said may not  be a bad  thing.   He then said  that the                                                               
legislation should be moved out of the committee.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  pointed  out  that  HB  308  addresses  the                                                               
utilization of an actual device  that can be purchased at various                                                               
stores.   He also pointed out  that those performing polls  do so                                                               
using a regular telephone call.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:04:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDERSON  moved to  report  the  proposed CS  for                                                               
HB 308, Version 24-LS0779\F, Bannister,  1/25/06, as amended, out                                                               
of   committee   with    individual   recommendations   and   the                                                               
accompanying zero fiscal  notes.  There being  no objection, CSHB
308(JUD)  was   reported  from   the  House   Judiciary  Standing                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                

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