Two bills aimed at preventing spyware have breezed through the House of Representatives and are well on their way to being passed by the Senate.
The Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act (Spy Act) and Internet Spyware Prevention Act (I-Spy) establish tougher fines and jail sentences for anyone using data logging software to illegally capture information.
"Consumers have a right to know and have a right to decide who has access to their highly personal information that spyware can collect," said California Republican Rep. Mary Bono, who sponsored Spy Act.
The Spy Act "makes it unlawful for any person who is not the owner or authorized users of a protected computer to engage in deceptive acts or practises," including taking remote control of the machine, mining personally identifiable information or disabling security software. It promises fines of up to $3 million per violation.
I-Spy "amends the Federal criminal code to prohibit intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorisation."
If either bill is passed in the Senate, then computer criminals could find themselves behind bars for up to two years.
In January SC reported Bono's confidence in the Spy Act passing safely into law.