US I-SPY Act passes House

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US I-SPY Act passes House

The Internet Spyware Prevention Act of 2007 was approved by the US House of Representatives this week, but the bill still faces a significant test in the prospect of Senate affirmation.

Also known as the I-SPY Act, the bill would make it illegal to access a PC without authorisation or to exceed authorised access by copying software or code to further another criminal act, impair security procedures or steal the personal or financial information of another end-user.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., who introduced the legislation on 14 March. It was co-sponsored by Virginia Republicans J. Randy Forbes and Bob Goodlatte, as well as Reps. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, Linda T. Sanchez, D-Calif., and Lamar Smith, R-Texas.

Approved by the House Judiciary Committee on 1 May, the bill follows anti-spyware legislation from 2004 and 2005 that were never acted upon by the Senate. Other legislation, called the Spy Act, has been approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, but has not seen a vote by the full House.

David McGuire, spokesman for the Center for Democracy and Technology, told SCMagazine.com that his organisation supports the bill but would like to see increased attention paid to penalties for spyware distribution.

"A real focus with anti-spyware legislation should be on the enforcement side, because enforcement has improved a great deal over the past couple of years, and the FTC [Federal Trade Commission] has been very aggressive in tracking [spyware distributors] down," he said.

Rob Haralson, spokesman for StopBadware.org, told SCMagazine.com that the bill is more focused on the criminal aspects of spyware than other legislation.

"It’s a good thing that this focuses solely on the criminal provisions that were included," he said. "There’s never going to be one magic bill that will kill spyware. It takes a multi-level approach."

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