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On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Internet Spyware Prevention Act, which you may know as I-Spy, a bill that aims to create a federal law to take on spyware. I-Spy calls for:
- making it a criminal offense for an individual to place unauthorized code on a computer and use it to obtain or transmit personal information or to impair the security protections on the system.
- fines and prisons terms of up to five years for those responsible for such acts.
- allocating $10 million to the U.S. Justice Department to combat spyware, phishing, and other online scams.
While this is progress, as noted on CNET, there are still "political hurdles" in store for I-Spy.
This marks the third effort by the House to pass a federal law targeting spyware; two previous attempts by the lower chamber died in the Senate in 2004 and 2005 - a fate which could occur again.
Also at play is the Spy Act (a less tech-friendly alternative that calls for extensive regulations on the type of actions software may perform) which was approved by a House committee in the beginning of May but has not yet been sent to the full House of Representatives for approval.