House Passes Anti-Spyware Bills

Share this article:
The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation designed to fight spyware that infects computers with tracking software.


The SPY ACT (Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass) passed in a 399-1 vote Tuesday night. It sets disclosure requirements for companies that distribute software that tracks Web users' behavior. It requires that customers choose to install the software and agree to the collection of information. The bill also requires the Federal Trade Commission to set rules and handle enforcement.


The bill, sponsored by Mary Bono, R-CA, calls for fines of up to $3 million for those found guilty of spreading the most virulent forms of spyware, such as keystroke loggers that collect personal information.


The Senate is considering its own spyware bill, the SPY BLOCK Act (Software Principles Yielding Better Levels of Consumer Knowledge), sponsored by CAN-SPAM Act supporter Conrad Burns, R-MT. It also requires disclosure and mandates that software be easy to uninstall.


The congressional action comes as spyware gains a place alongside spam as a threat to Internet use. A study released Monday by EarthLink found that the average computer it scanned in the third quarter had 25 types of spyware on it. The audit included everything from system-monitoring software to adware to advertising cookies.


Adware makers Claria and WhenU.com have fought to keep legislation from infringing on their desktop ad services, which show contextual marketing messages tied to Web browsing habits.


"This is a great bill with real teeth that will separate legitimate desktop advertising from deceptive players and really help clean up the industry," WhenU president Avi Naider wrote in an e-mail message.


Share this article:

Sign up to our newsletters

Follow us on Twitter @dmnews

Latest Jobs:

More in News

NBA Names Insurance Exec as its CMO

NBA Names Insurance Exec as its CMO

Nationwide and State Farm veteran Pamela El takes the league's marketing helm next month.

Bloomberg Names Bigley CMO

Bloomberg Names Bigley CMO

Communications chief Deirdre Bigley is appointed head of global marketing for the business and financial news company.

2014 Essential Guide to Omnichannel Marketing

2014 Essential Guide to Omnichannel Marketing

The 2014 Essential Guide to Omnichannel Marketing‚ÄĒeverything you need to know about Omnichannel, all in one spot. Read on for insight.