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POLITICS: Spyware: It's Going Down

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posted on May, 23 2005 @ 09:14 PM
The United States House of Representatives hates spyware as much as you do. And they voted today to make it against the law. A wide range of spyware would be prohibited- from keyloggers to popups- with $3 million dollar fines and up to two years in Federal prison- with additional prison time for identity theft.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday voted to establish new penalties for purveyors of Internet "spyware" that disables users' computers and secretly monitors their activities.

By overwhelming majorities, the House passed two bills that stiffen jail sentences and establish multimillion-dollar fines for those who use secret surveillance programs to steal credit-card numbers, sell software or commit other crimes.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Can you imagine a world without spam, spybots, or popups? Well, the US Congress can- and they make the law. How will this affect online advertising? Is law enforcement use of spyware to be curtailed? What do you think about spyware, and this new legislation?

Related News Links:

Related Discussion Threads:
Beware Spyware.......It's watching you!!

[edit on 23-5-2005 by Chakotay]

posted on May, 23 2005 @ 09:27 PM
Well, they can legislate all they want. I'm not sure how much effect it will have.
I really wish they would have kept their noses out of it. Don't they have real issues of national concern to worry about???

I don't even hate spyware. It's an annoyance that I have the power to deal with right now!
I can take care of my own computer, thank you very much, Congress.
I don't need youur interference.
I have a good firewall and virus protection. I don't go to sites that I don't trust. I use several anti-spyware applications and I believe my PC is pretty clean.

And anyway, by the time they get around to it, spyware etal will morph into something entirely different.

And that's my viewpoint.

[edit on 23-5-2005 by DontTreadOnMe]

posted on May, 23 2005 @ 09:35 PM
I agree DTOM, Id rather them not legislate on specific points of the Internet. The purpose of the Internet is to remain open and while it can and should be used for surveillance on illegal activities, I think they are going too far with the spyware legislation. I'd be interested to see what the World Wide Web Consortium has to say about this.

posted on May, 23 2005 @ 09:36 PM
What if the person is based out of the US? Does the law affect them? I got the best in adware/spyware blocker/cleaner so no big deal for me.

posted on May, 24 2005 @ 07:53 AM
Good point, James.
Will this affect offshore threats?
I still think this is more to do with the Congress puffing themselves up to look important. It reminds of of Nero fiddling as Rome burned.

I also fear, big time, that the government is trying in any way they can to try and legislate what is not theirs to legislate.

posted on May, 24 2005 @ 08:04 AM
Problem is, in most common spyware cases "XOP GAIM GATOR ETC..." the software isn't really installed without the users consent. The disclaimers are there, mostly super fine print, but they are there indeed.

Also do company's like GAIM buy up popular freeware company's or partner with them and bundle their "software" as part of the freeware or popular software's package.

Now, if they stricten the laws enough, they might kill company's like GAIM, because these company's sell information about their victims, the deinstallation of their applications is horibly difficult for unexperienced users and their apps also do things that aren't noted in the disclaimers.

On the other hand, restrictions on software directed to spyware could be forged in a way that it can be used to crack down on other software vendors too, software vendors that play it clean, but are disliked by the big money software vendors.

posted on May, 24 2005 @ 08:20 AM
I'm all for such legislation. I don't understand why many of you object.

How would you feel if somebody used a powerful telescope to peek through your window and determine what comedy show you watch and what type of toothbrush you use, so they can do better marketing? There is no difference between peeping and spyware. Equally stealthy and destructive to privacy.

I clean up my system some weeks ago and found 4 different kinds of spyware. If I remember correctly, 2 of those were installed "with my consent", which isn fact is bull due to the fine print etc. The other two were completely malicious.

I say send them to jail. I don't need anybody stalking me as I do my internet shopping or type this message on ATS.

posted on May, 24 2005 @ 08:25 AM
As some of you have pointed out this law will be utterly worthless unless someone is dumb enough to use an ISP located in the U.S. to host their spyware on.

WHY would anyone do that when you can get "offshore" just as easily as domestic?

The problem here is, once again, my government seem incapable of understanding the WWW is NOT a US enterprise. It's frustrating to see them waste resources and time on laws that are plain useless.

Dont' get me wrong, I APPRECIATE the "intent" of the law and wish there was a way to rid the WWW of all the scammers.


posted on May, 24 2005 @ 08:39 AM
I object because I don't think we need Big Brother to babysit us. Maybe it's the Libertarian in me.

I shop online all the time with no worries. I protect my passwords through my firewall and/or a password protection software. We don't need the government to keep us safe. And, I like to support all the internet software creators throughout the world.
There are plenty of GOOD spyware software to keep us safe without the government's involvement. One they gain a foothold in the internet, which they are wildly trytin to do, we are one step closer to losing internet freedom.

With every "freedom", there comes a responbility to protect that "freedom".
All these are free software that I run to protect my computer. Thirty minutes of my time, once a week, is worth more than any amount of government intervention. (I am connected to the internet almost constantly. Those connected less my not need weekly scans.)

posted on May, 24 2005 @ 08:56 AM
Who's gonna serve the time? The programmer? The Salesperson that utilizes the spyware? The person who tracks results? All of them? 2 years in prison is a damn long time for something as (arguably) harmless as spyware... Identity theft and credit card fraud area already crimes...


posted on May, 24 2005 @ 10:28 AM
I agree with DTOM. More vague legislation that allows the "authorities" to intrude in privacy matters and the internet is the last thing we need. This myopic legislation is a big club that will cause as much harm as good. As someone else noted, it will have no effect on the Spyware purveyors who operate outside the US.

This looks like a slippery slope. Allow the legislative toe in the door and then we'll see an ensuing avalanche of legislation related to the internet, including taxation of internet usage to pay the cost of implementing all the legislation.

This is BIG BROTHER taking the back door while you're all asleep.

posted on May, 24 2005 @ 11:45 AM
All I can say is: Goodbye, a site that should be banned...the worst Hijacking software ever...please do not visit the site, it might be devastating...

posted on May, 24 2005 @ 12:28 PM
I spend a lot of time cleaning this crap out of other peoples computers, so I guess I make money off of spyware. But this stuff is pure evil.

Most people are not that computer savvy and the temptation of a bit of "free" porn, or a little program or game that looks fun, can screw a machine completely.

This law looks good on the outside. It looks like they want to do something about an issue that bugs lots of voters.
But people need to educate themselves and not depend on the government to wipe their noses from cradle to grave.

I can look after my own computers, and more people need to learn how to do the same.


posted on May, 24 2005 @ 01:14 PM
Theyre not even talking about "spyware."
Spyware by definition collects marketing statistics about the client and submits this information to the vendor. Information normally transmitted would include sites visited and frequency, number of time spent online, were any particular sites of interest visited, etc.

What this law however talks about are Trojan Horses. Trojan Horses are programs that run quietly in the background, collect keystrokes, display info, sensitive data (CC or other personal info) even allow the attacker to comprimise the entire system and gain complete control.

Spyware and Trojan Horses are two very different things. Gotta love it when lawmakers dont even know what theyre talking about.

posted on May, 24 2005 @ 01:33 PM
Great article, plus discussion and points.

I have 2 questions:

1. Why the dog and pony show?

2. Will this legislation force sites like ATS to shut down by killing their revenue base - without addressing real crime that is already against the law anyway?

posted on May, 24 2005 @ 01:53 PM
Here again we have a prime example of order from chaos. Congress has no business legislating internet laws, it is a private matter between customers of software companies and internet users. This merely opens the door for them to start passing legislation after legislation to tighten their grip on the last bastion of True Free Speech left in the world.

posted on May, 24 2005 @ 02:14 PM

By overwhelming majorities, the House passed two bills that stiffen jail sentences and establish multimillion-dollar fines for those who use secret surveillance programs to steal credit-card numbers, sell software or commit other crimes.

Harumph. They should make it cover all spyware and malware and the like.

posted on May, 24 2005 @ 02:21 PM

Can you imagine a world without spam, spybots, or popups?

I can actually remember a world without spam, spybots, or popups.
The net has become increasingly hard to Navigate your way around,
I too clean the crap out of people's computers for a living.

Like another poster said though, I don't think the Law will do that
much, these companies will just Host their Garbage from overseas.
Sad but True.

posted on May, 24 2005 @ 03:36 PM
I have to agree with most of the other posters here,I mean although it would be nice to have all of that spyware gone.That is impossible..this law won't really do anything.It was only a year ago that I learned of spyware...I had lost two computers to it without even knowing.Thankfully a friend clued me in when my new computer started to die of the same ailments as the previous one.Now I scan at least once a week...and even in a week visiting normal sites you can pick up a few.Its so widespread and most are based in other countries so it would never stop.Even if we did manage to crack-down on it,(like previous posters have said) It will only breed new,more agressive and cloaked spyware.I don't want that,I can at least keep it at bay currently...I only get a new one that doesn't come up on scans once a year,and that just means I have to update my scanner.I can't imagine trying to stop Hyperspyware.

posted on May, 24 2005 @ 04:14 PM

Originally posted by anxietydisorder
This law looks good on the outside. It looks like they want to do something about an issue that bugs lots of voters.
But people need to educate themselves and not depend on the government to wipe their noses from cradle to grave.

This may sound callous, but I don't see why people should expect the government to help keep their computers clean. It's not that hard to run anti-virus and have a firewall. Many are free and come with forums to help.
If you aren't able to figure it out yourself, hire someone to set it up. Jobs they can't send offshore, btw.
I just don't think everyone in America has a right to have a computer, and then expect the government to bale them out when they don't educate themselves.

As others have said, the Internet does NOT belong to the US.

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