By Grant Gross
IDG News Service
November 18, 2005
WASHINGTON - A U.S. Senate committee has approved a bill that would
outlaw the practice of remotely installing software that collects a
computer users' personal information without consent.
In addition to prohibiting spyware, the Spyblock (Software Principles
Yielding Better Levels of Consumer Knowledge) Act would also outlaw
the installation of adware programs without a computer user's
permission. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
approved the bill Thursday.
Spyblock, sponsored by Senator Conrad Burns, a Montana Republican,
would prohibit hackers from remotely taking over a computer and
prohibit programs that hijack Web browsers. The bill would protect
antispyware software vendors from being sued by companies whose
software they block.
"I am pleased that a majority of the committee agrees with me that
Congress must act to protect the right of consumers to know when
potentially dangerous Spyware is being downloaded onto their
computers," Burns said in a statement. "As the Spyblock Act moves
forward to the Senate floor, I hope we can continue making it a
stronger bill by making sure the private sector has all the right
tools it needs to successfully slow the spread of malicious spyware."
The Spyblock Act now moves to the full Senate for consideration. The
U.S. House of Representatives passed two antispyware bills in October
2004 and again in May, but the Senate has so far failed to act on
The Spyblock Act would allow the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and
state attorneys general to seek civil penalties against spyware and
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