Federal Anti Spyware Law to Become a Reality
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The nation is one step closer to having a Federal anti-spyware law, and all odds point to it becoming a reality before the year is out. At this very moment the House is working with two proposed anti-spyware laws, I-SPY (the Internet Spyware Prevention Act of 2005), and the SPY (Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass) Act.

I-SPY is quite simple – if you access someone’s computer without authorization, and use that unauthorized access to transmit their personal information for the purposes of fraud or damaging a computer, or to commit a crime, you go to jail.


The SPY Act is much more complicated, and looks at things like requiring a user to opt-in to the software being downloaded. The problem with this is that it means very clearly defining things like “opt-in”, “software”, and heck, even “download”.

It is interesting to note that we are exactly where we were two years ago, with the rush to get something – anything – in place as a Federal anti-spam law. Then as now there were two competing House bills, a Senate which had previously been fairly inactive, and every reason to think now that something – anything – is going to get passed. With CAN-SPAM it was the newly passed California anti-spam law nipping at their heels. With the anti-spyware law, it is the industry and consumer clamour for relief.
The smart thing to do would be to pass the simpler law, I-SPY, now, use that as a bright line in the sand, and then take the time to refine and clarify a SPY Act type of law. Otherwise we will end up with another CAN-SPAM – not as strong as it could be, and needing constant clarification.

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One thought on “Federal Anti Spyware Law to Become a Reality
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  1. What I just read is, I’m sure, a very simplified synopsis of a much more complex proposal. However even this simplification is unnecessarily complex. It requires the offended party to prove the intention of the offender, a situation analogious with a burgler saying that he had broken into your house to watch TV or get out of the rain.

    I-SPY is quite simple – if you access someone’s computer without authorization, and use that unauthorized access to transmit their personal information for the purposes of fraud or damaging a computer, or to commit a crime, you go to jail.
    This clause is a landmine put there to give lawyers work, but what can we expect? They write the laws. If you enter someones computer, uninvited, for what ever reason, you should go to jail and pay reparations for any damage incurred, including software and any lost files.

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