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US House Panel Approves Bill to Combat Spyware
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Adam
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PostPost subject: US House Panel Approves Bill to Combat Spyware
Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 12:31 am
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A key U.S. congressional panel on Thursday endorsed a bill designed to crack down on deceptive "spyware" that hides in users' computers and secretly monitors their activities.

Lawmakers on a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee voted unanimously for a bill that would require purveyors of spyware on the Internet to notify people before loading new software on their machines.

Rep. Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas and chairman of the full committee, predicted the bill would proceed quickly through the House and "sometime this year become public law."

The bill, introduced by Reps. Mary Bono, a California Republican, and Ed Towns, a New York Democrat, also would allow the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to seek millions of dollars in fines for some of the practices lawmakers consider most egregious, such as logging users' keystrokes or stealing their identities.

It also would require that spyware be made easily removable.

"We continue to meet people who have had their Web pages hijacked, their browsers corrupted, and in some cases their children exposed to inappropriate material via nefarious programs lurking on their hard drives," said subcommittee chairman Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican.

Spyware can sap computing power, crash machines and bury users under a blizzard of unwanted ads. It can capture passwords, credit-card numbers and other sensitive data.

While popular among lawmakers, the proposed legislation has not been embraced by the FTC.

FTC officials have told lawmakers they already have the laws they need to combat the spread of spyware. And they fear the new spyware law could end up being a problem for sellers of legitimate software -- some of which uses the same technology as spyware but helps computer users navigate the Internet.

Backers of the spyware bill said it has been modified to address those concerns.

"Our goal was to produce a bill that was not overly prescriptive, specifically directed at egregious practices, and which also preserved legitimate uses of the technology," Stearns said.

? Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.
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Dexter
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Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 12:53 pm
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Thank the lord...now if they'd only approve that and drop these stupid bills on institution of the draft in spring of 2005, we'd be in good shape.
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Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 11:27 pm
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it's all about the money, these spyers want us to see ads so they can make money... blah blah blah. the problem i see is that this is like weed. it's against the law but people keep doing it. where there's a will there's a way. i was speaking with one of my computer teachers who owns his own ISP and he had setup a program on the email server that would block anything with 'penis' in the title. he then began to get emails with 'pe_nis' and all that jazz. bah... i dont know....
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Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 11:48 pm
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Yup, spammers are always finding a way around it. That is why I think at the end of their subject lines, there's usually a unique looking number... probably to try and fool filters. At least some filters are ok, such as spam assassin (I've used it). I've used AOL's and do not see a difference.
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