Anti-Spyware Bill Passed by House
Legislation prohibiting spyware practices was passed Tuesday by the United States House of Representatives in a 399-1 vote. Termed the Spy Act, this bill not only prevents all things associated with spyware, but it also requires that opt-ins, notices and consents accompany any legal software that collects personal information and data from consumers.
Violators of H.R. 2929 may face civil penalties of up to $3 million if found guilty of practices such as keystroke logging, phishing, homepage hijacking, and implementing ads that can only be closed by a computer shutdown. The Spy Act, one of two spyware measures, is expected to be passed by the Senate and, ultimately, signed by President Bush.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, you don’t like it when your computer gets hijacked. Right now, it’s basically not illegal,” stated Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) in internetnews.com. “There’s nobody in this country that’s been impacted by spyware that thinks we shouldn’t do anything. It’s just insidious.”
Spyware is a collective term for any technology that collects information about computer users without their knowledge. Usually in the form of cookies, it can enable the cookie writer to collectively build up information about what you’re doing on the Internet as well as when and where.