Anti-spyware bill passed by House Judiciary Committee

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The House Judiciary Committee passed on Wednesday an anti-spyware bill that would make it illegal to place unauthorized code on a computer and use it to obtain or transmit personal information or to impair the security protections on the system.

The Internet Spyware Prevention Act, also known as I-SPY, would allow for fines and five-year prison terms for those responsible for such acts. The National Retail Federation supports the bill as it addresses the criminals.

"We like this approach because it goes after criminals and bad actors and not software," said Liz Oesterle, senior director and government relations counsel at the National Retail Federation. "We think this is the best approach."

The bill was introduced by Republican representative from Virginia Bob Goodlatte and will now be sent to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

The act was first introduced in the House of Representatives in 2004 and passed in 2005, but both times failed to make it through the Senate. The bill was reintroduced in March to further prosecute makers of spyware.

The DMA also supports the bill because it would be effective in addressing illicit practices while minimizing the effect on legitimate businesses offering consumer products and services over the Internet, according to a prepared statement by Steven Berry, executive vice president for government and consumer affairs at the DMA.

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