U.S. House approves anti-spyware bills

The U.S. House of Representatives approved two anti-spyware bills this week.

On Tuesday, the House voted 399-1 in favor of H.R. 2929, the Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act (SPY ACT). The legislation would ban deceptive downloading of software that tracks a user's activity. It would require clear notice prior to downloading such programs and also bans deceptive behavior such as hijacking of computers and phishing schemes.

The bill would give the Federal Trade Commission enforcement authority and establish civil penalties of up to $3 million. It includes an exception for monitoring or interaction of a computer by an ISP, software or other IT provider, for the purpsoes of security, repair, or technical support.

Approved Thursday, the second bill - the Internet Spyware (I-SPY) Prevention Act (H.R. 4661) - aims to stiffen the criminal penalities for distribution of spyware that snatches a user's personal information with intent to defraud, or impairs a computer's security.

Another anti-spyware bill - the Software Principals Yielding Better Levels of Consumer Knowledge Act or the SPYBLOCK Act - is pending in the Senate.

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