Take Action: Protect Patients from Online Scams With Domain Name Reform
Re-open access to WHOIS contact information; require that domain name sellers lock and suspend suspicious websites
These companies also maintain contact information for registered domain names in a database called WHOIS. Until 2018, investigators used WHOIS to track down cybercriminals, but in the last two years access to WHOIS has been radically limited in response to EU privacy laws and other policy changes. The result is that authorities cannot find and prosecute those selling fraudulent products on websites.
At the end of February 2020, Representative Bob Latta (R-OH) has introduced HR875, a resolution aimed at safeguarding access to WHOIS information for law enforcement and the public. HR875 states that “domain name registration information, referred to as ‘WHOIS’ information, is critical to the protection of the United States national and economic security, intellectual property rights enforcement, cybersecurity, as well as the health, safety, and privacy of its citizens, and should remain readily accessible.”
What you can do:
On May 8, 2020, The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) wrote Congressional leaders in the House and Senate urging them to take extra measures in the next health and stimulus package to protect the American public from online COVID-19 scams. PSM asked that they require domain name sellers to suspend and lock websites that facilitate COVID-19 and other health fraud, and re-open registration information so that law enforcement can pursue criminals using websites to take advantage of the public.
Lend your voice to this campaign. Share our one-pager about domain name reform to help others understand why this is important. TEXT STOPSCAM to 52886 to send a letter to your members of Congress, or submit your letter here.
Background / resources
- Our May 6, 2020 #covidscams episode examines this issue
- Read our short explanation about domain name reform
- Read letters to Congressional leadership and federal agencies:
- Representative Robert Latta of Ohio to the Department of Justice, FBI and DEA (June 24, 2020) Rep. Latta also sent letters to several additional agencies.
- PSM's Statement on the New Pilot Program From NTIA and FDA (June 12, 2020)