Members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on
Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection today heard a chorus of support
from various industry representatives for a proposed new spyware bill.

But that support was tempered with calls for caution by some
who fear the bill, without some modifications, could harm Internet
advertisers.

The bill, dubbed the Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber
Trespass Act (Spy Act), is sponsored by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.)
and would make it unlawful to install software that gathers
information, monitors usage, serves up advertisements or modifies
browser and other settings on a computer without explicit user consent.
Violations would be treated as unfair or deceptive trade practices
subject to enforcement action by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission
(FTC). The bill also allows fines of up to $3 million for some types of
violations.

Computerworld