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House Eyes Anti-Spyware Legislation

Congress examines the Spy Act, the anti-spyware legislation that was reintroduced earlier this month after not making it to the president's desk in 2004.

Congress has scheduled a committee hearing for Wednesday to take testimony about the SPY ACT, the anti-spyware legislation that was reintroduced earlier this month after not making it to the President's desk in 2004.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing Wednesday starting at 10 a.m. ET on Rep. Mary Bono's (R-Calif.) bill, HR 29. This year's edition is identical to last year's, which passed the House by a vote of 399-1, but failed to come to a vote in the Senate.

Bono's bill would prohibit a wide range of spyware- and adware-style activities, including keyboard logging, home page hijacking, and persistent on-screen ads. SPY ACT would also forbid practices such as collecting information without the user's consent or intentionally diverting a browser from its intended destination, and requires software to offer up a "no thanks" dialog so installation can't be done without consumers' knowledge. Programs must also have an easy-to-find uninstall option.

Violators could face fines of up to $3 million.

The hearing will be Webcast by the House.

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