Outside Legal Counsel PLC

U.S. House Subcommittee: Make Spyware Illegal

For Immediate Release | Jun 21, 2004

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection voted unanimously to approve an anti-spyware bill.

The bill, known as the Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act or SPY ACT, would levy large fines against software creators who use questionable computing techniques to market products, services, or collect information including illegally collect personal information, deliver pop-up ads that can't be closed, change the browser's default home page, log keystrokes, and steal identities.

SPY ACT now heads to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee. Many predict that the bill will quickly make it to the House floor and likely be passed before the end of the year.

“Although it may become illegal in the U.S., it will still exist,” states Philip L. Ellison, technology consultant and owner of Hemlock-based Quagmire Solutions. “The best way to stop spyware is to be an active web observer.”

Ellison suggests that if your computer contains spyware to uninstall it immediately. However, many spyware programs often have official sounding names or are even hidden from the computer user. The best way to detect and remove these programs is with spyware removal software. Several companies have developed free spyware detection and removal software and are available to download via the web.

LavaSoft’s Ad-aware (http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/)
Spybot Search & Destroy (http://www.safer-networking.org)

Ellison recommends the best way to prevent spyware is to know what you are installing. “Take your time, follow what the computer is doing, and if you don’t know, ask. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”


The above article was issued by an OLC attorney when he previously worked in corporate operations and communications. Because these articles are highly informative, they are provided as a service of this law firm.