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Deconstructing the Spyware Face-Off

By SmartStuff ·
Until very recently, technology firms have enjoyed the rare ability to get their way on Capitol Hill.

Thanks to skillful lobbying and bipartisan political schmoozing, America's high-technology industry can point to a handsome number of legislative victories, like the R&amp tax credit, more H-1B visas, restrictions on Internet access taxes, free trade with China, and curbs on lawsuits arising from the Year 2000 computer bug.

Now this enviable winning streak may be ending. Even the combined might of Microsoft and some of Silicon Valley's largest corporations wasn't enough to derail a spyware bill that's hurtling through the U.S. House of Representatives at an unusual speed and is now awaiting a floor vote.

The legislation, backed by Rep. Mary Bono, R-Calif., is called the Spy Act. On June 24, members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce ignored intense lobbying from the software industry and voted 45-4 to forward the Spy Act to the House floor.

Industry lobbyists were left dazed by the unexpectedly lopsided vote, which came a day after 16 corporations and trade associations wrote a letter to the committee, raising "substantial concerns" about the Spy Act. Among the letter's signers were, America Online, Dell, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems.

"We didn't get very far at the end of the day," admits Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America. The ITAA wrote its own letter warning that the "current bill will generate a veritable blizzard of legally mandated pop-up notices that only a lawyer would love," and would unreasonably target any utility that might "update, renew and monitor programs residing on the computer user's system."

These tech firms are no fans of malicious spyware, an amorphous term that refers to software that hides in personal computers and may snoop on what users are doing. (A related category includes "adware" firms such as WhenU and Claria that display frequently unwanted pop-up ads.)

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The Spy Act is no prize, either. The latest version has ballooned to 21 pages and hands broad new powers to the Federal Trade Commission to police the U.S. software industry. Legitimate firms would have to comply with an avalanche of regulations of dubious value--yielding notices that Americans will ignore as completely as they do the junk mail the Gramm-Leach-Bliley law requires banks and credit unions to send out.

Scrambling to respond
Politicians don't care. As the November elections near, they're eager to be perceived as taking action against an Internet menace associated with pop-up advertisements and keystroke monitoring--even if the final bill does more harm than good.

more, this great article in full ..

By Declan McCullagh

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Spyware ruined my life

by GoGetIt In reply to Deconstructing the Spywar ...

Firstly - Thanks for the posting it feels good to be both informed and equipped. I had such hidden software on my PC, which is much quicker now it's gone.

With elections coming up ... maybe there'll be a chance for a major change in corporate policy. Bush's administration is too pro-the-large company if you ask me. That's the problem.

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by metmichallica In reply to Deconstructing the Spywar ...

One word is all you will have to remember, PestPatrol. PestPatrol is the best everybody download and find out for yourself, and then if you like it, buy it if you have the money.

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