Anti-Spyware Bill Introduced - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

01:44 PM

Anti-Spyware Bill Introduced

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor wants to make it illegal for companies to install spyware on PCs without consent.

Accusing the technology industry of failing to regulate itself, Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., introduced a bill Thursday that would make it illegal for companies to install spyware on PCs without consent.

Pryor said that unwanted software hurts economic, security, and privacy interests of businesses and consumers.

"The industry has failed in self-regulating," Pryor said in a prepared statement. "It's time to step in and enact serious consequences against those who use this invasive and deceptive practice."

The Southern Democrat is targeting spyware installed with other software, as well as so-called "drive-by downloads," in which a software is covertly installed when an Internet user clicks on a link.

Pryor pointed out that the unwanted software can be extremely difficult to remove. He cited an AOL study that concluded 80% of computers in a test group were infected and 89% of users were unaware that spyware had infected their machines. Pryor introduced the Counter Spy Act of 2007 after holding hearings on the issue. He said it would deter companies and fraudsters from embedding of spyware on users' computers without first obtaining their consent.

The bill would make installing spyware an unfair or deceptive practice. It covers hijacking, spam, denial of service, pop-ups, changing default home page and security settings, Web proxies, and toolbar setups as well. Additionally, it would give the Federal Trade Commission enforcement power over violators, who could face civil or criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

"Spyware is a serious infringement upon basic levels of privacy and security," Pryor said. "There are very few, if any, legitimate reasons for this practice to continue but countless reasons for it to be stopped, including identity theft and sluggish computer performance."

Similar measures have passed the House of Representatives. The Information Technology Association of America has opposed such legislation in the past but did not provide immediate comment on the latest attempt to pass federal laws to stop spyware.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
Download this report from InformationWeek, in partnership with Dark Reading, to learn more about how today's IT operations teams work with cybersecurity operations, what technologies they are using, and how they communicate and share responsibility--or create risk by failing to do so. Get it now!
10 Cyberattacks on the Rise During the Pandemic
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  6/24/2020
IT Trade Shows Go Virtual: Your 2020 List of Events
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/29/2020
Study: Cloud Migration Gaining Momentum
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  6/22/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll