The House on Energy and Commerce subcommittee has approved the newly renamed “Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass” Act, (SPY ACT). This act will now move to full committee and then, if approved, to the House for a full vote. The bill was authored by U.S. Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.), who said in a statement, "Passage of the SPY ACT today represents a cooperative effort to bring commonsense legislation forward to protect consumers from the threat of spyware. We are one step closer to restoring safety, confidence and control to consumers when using their own computers."
The bill would make it illegal to install software without the user’s awareness or permission by requiring that consumers receive notice prior to spyware downloading. It also allows for fines up to $3 million. The revised version of the bill also includes provisions that prohibit unfair or deceptive behavior in the form of key-stroke logging, computer high-jacking and the display of advertisements like pop-ups that cannot be closed.
This legislation is co-sponsored by Congressman Ed Towns (D-NY) and is soon expected to be considered by the full House Energy and Commerce Committee before going to the floor of the House of Representatives for final passage. A companion bill was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Burns, Wyden, and Boxer and is currently under consideration in the Senate Commerce Committee.