Anti-spyware bill passes in House

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Members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved an anti-spyware bill that would make it illegal to place an 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.

"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 NRF, Washington. "We think this is the best approach."

Representative Bob Goodlatte, R-VA, introduced the bill. The act was first introduced in the House in 2004 and passed in 2005. However, both times it failed to make it through the Senate. The bill was reintroduced in March to further prosecute makers of spyware.

The Direct Marketing Association also supports the bill. It said the bill 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 statement by Steven Berry, executive vice president for government and consumer affairs at the DMA.

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