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
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Study Proposes 5 Primary Traits of Innovation Leaders
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/8/2019
Top-Paying U.S. Cities for Data Scientists and Data Analysts
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  11/5/2019
10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/1/2019
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Getting Started With Emerging Technologies
Looking to help your enterprise IT team ease the stress of putting new/emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning and IoT to work for their organizations? There are a few ways to get off on the right foot. In this report we share some expert advice on how to approach some of these seemingly daunting tech challenges.
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