The House has passed not one, but two cleverly-named measures targeting the miscreants who make and promote spyware. Though the FTC, Justice Department, and several state attorneys general are already empowered to prosecute spyware manufacturers, the two measures would extend existing laws by subjecting spyware makers to jail terms and multimillion-dollar fines.
The I-SPY Prevention Act, passed in May on a voice vote, would send spyware makers to the slammer for up to five years. The measure enjoys broad support from industry. Its controversial cousin, the SPY ACT, was passed last week 368-48. The SPY ACT would target an array of spyware, adware, and phishing schemes by requiring notice and consent before allowing the installation of information-gathering programs, and would subject violators to FTC fines reaching $3 million.
The measures, which also passed the House in the last Congress, will now make another enthusiastic dash towards the Senate. If you think spyware makers should be imprisoned or slapped with multimillion-dollar fines, write your Senator. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER