Spyware bill on Senate schedule

A bill that would outlaw a number of spyware-related activities was forwarded to the US Senate by a committee last week.

The Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation passed the bill best known as the "SPY BLOCK Act" by unanimous consent last week. It now moves on to consideration by the full Senate.

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, said in a statement that he does not believe the act will hinder ecommerce.

The committee chairman said the act addresses "the growing problem of invasive spyware that is infecting millions of computers across the nation."

The bill includes restrictions on PC hijacking, spam zombies, pop-up advertising and fraudulent installation and outlaws modem hijackings and denial of service attacks. The Federal Trade Commission's hand is also strengthened by the bill, which gives the agency and state attorneys general the authority to enforce its provisions, according to a committee statement.

Tiffany Jones, a government relations manager with Symantec, said the bill is "a step in the right direction."

"We definitely applaud Congress for taking a look at this issue," she said.

Jones said she would also like to see legislation include a "Good Samaritan provision" to protect security companies from frivilous lawsuits filed by spyware makers.

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