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House Passes Anti-Spyware Bill

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

07 October 2004


It emerged this week that the US House of Representatives has passed the Spy Act, which aims to prevent firms from covertly installing spyware on the computers of internet users.

Under the terms of the legislation, which passed 399-1, taking control of a computer from an external source, changing an internet user's homepage, or disabling anti-virus software will be prohbited.

The Act also creates a complex set of rules relating to software which transmits any information across the internet, and will allow the Federal Trade Commission to levy fines of up to $3 million for repeat offenders.

Responding to arguments from the online business sector that the language of the legislation was so broad that it could prevent the use of legitimate software applications, the Energy and Commerce Committee amended the Spy Act on Monday, prior to the vote. Similar accusations have been levelled at a version of the bill pending in the Senate.


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