Home > News > U.S. House Approves Anti-Spyware Bill Over Web Industry Objections • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options

NEWS STORY

U.S. House Approves Anti-Spyware Bill Over Web Industry Objections

U.S. House Approves Anti-Spyware Bill Over Web Industry Objections
Get XBIZ News
Jun 13, 2007 4:00 PM PDT    Text size: 
WASHINGTON — Seeking to address an issue that is of great concern to web surfers, merchants and advertising affiliates alike, the U.S. House of Representatives has approved an anti-spyware bill — a bill that critics say is far too broad and will catch far more than spyware in its net.

H.R. 964, or the “Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act” (Spy Act) prohibits a wide range of “unfair or deceptive acts or practices relating to spyware,” including using another person’s computer to “send unsolicited information or material from the computer to others,” and “diverting the Internet browser of the computer.”

“Today’s legislation provides consumers with new tools to protect themselves from unwanted, harmful software,” said Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) on the House floor last week.

According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), however, the legislation does more than that — much of which would negatively impact not just advertisers but consumers themselves.

“964 really just goes too far,” Stephanie Hendricks, director of public affairs for the DMA told XBIZ. “The way it defines ‘information collection programs,’ for example, is far too broad.”

Hendricks said that the language of the Spy Act is open to such a wide range of interpretation that it “could potentially cover benign use of cookies,” like online shopping cart mechanisms, ‘favorites’ lists, and unobtrusive contextual advertising applications.

To express opposition to the legislation, the AMA and 31 other associations and corporations sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) stating in part that the Spy Act “goes far beyond regulating spyware and cuts to the heart of the information economy and the unprecedented growth of the Internet.”

If not corrected, the current language of the bill would “limit the seamless Internet experience that is responsible for the widespread adoption of the Internet by consumers,” the groups stated in their letter to Pelosi and Boehner.

In the letter, the groups also asserted that regulating web pages as forms of “computer software” or “information collection programs,” would “radically alter the consumer Internet experience by undercutting the operational functionality of web pages, fulfillment of product and service offerings, and important advertising and marketing practices.”

The fundamental problem with the Spy Act, according to Hendricks, is that takes the wrong approach to the problem, seeking to restrict a technology itself, instead of focusing on poor conduct of some who employ that technology.

“Technology is neutral,” Hendricks said. “It is a question of how technology is used.”

H.R. 964 is not the only anti-spyware bill that was under consideration by the House. The other version of the legislation, H.R. 1525, did have the support of the DMA, according to Hendricks.

“1525 really focuses on penalties for people who misuse the software,” Hendricks told XBIZ. “It gives greater resources to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to go after bad actors.”

The bill’s Congressional sponsors have said that they are cognizant of the concerns expressed by the AMA and other critics, and feel that the Spy Act has adequately addressed those concerns.

“Anytime we legislate on highly technical matters, there is always a danger of stifling innovation and making the use of legitimate software too burdensome,” Towns said last week. “It is a very difficult tightrope to walk, but I think we have done an excellent job in walking that line.”

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !

LEGAL PERSPECTIVES

Dissecting an $11.9M Affiliate Marketing Judgment

The Federal Trade Commission scored another major win in early October when the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling, requiring LeadClick Media LLC to pay an $11.9 million award. The... More »

Legal Protection for Amateur Shoots

Any adult industry professional who creates video content with actual first-time amateurs will come to an early knowledge that later performer regret is commonplace. Recognized performers who regularly... More »

Legal Options to Address Pirated Cam Performances

Many webcam performers have experienced a new trend in online piracy — the illegal recording and publication of live webcam performances. The “business model” is disturbingly simple:... More »
XBIZ NEWSLETTERS
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.






POPULAR PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Access the latest issues of the industry's leading trade publications in digital form. View online or download for offline viewing.

UPCOMING EVENTS

XBIZ 2017

Jan 09 - Jan 13
Hollywood, CA

XBIZ Awards 2017

Jan 12 - Jan 12
Los Angeles, CA

ANME Founders Show

Jan 14 - Jan 15
Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport

Everything To Do With Sex Show

Jan 20 - Jan 22
Montréal, Québec
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!