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Thread: OT - Lawmakers take aim at spyware

  1. #1

    Default OT - Lawmakers take aim at spyware

    Since it seems like more than a few people here have had issues with spyware or hijackers in the past, I thought this might be of interest:
    ___

    Lawmakers take aim at spyware
    By John Borland
    CNET News.com
    March 3, 2004, 4:40 PM PT

    A trio of Washington lawmakers is seeking to stop the spread of "spyware" and "adware" that hijacks people's computers without their consent.

    Late last week, Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Conrad Burns, R-Mont., and Ron Wyden, R-Ore., introduced the "Spyblock" Act, aimed at controlling one of surfers' common complaints. Among other things, the bill would require a computer users' consent before software was installed, and ensure that software programs could be easily removed.

    "Computer users should have the same amount of privacy online as they do when they close the blinds in the windows of their house," Burns said in a statement. "But...computers across the country are being hijacked every day as users unknowingly download unwanted and deceitful programs that spy into their online world."

    The bill comes as public awareness of the problems and technical headaches caused by surreptitious computer software is growing quickly.

    Much of the outcry is coming as people increasingly use software that identifies the hidden software that produces advertisements, pop-up boxes, or changes home pages without permission. The digital pests often find their way onto computers bundled along with popular free programs such as file-swapping tools.

    Internet service providers (ISPs) including America Online and EarthLink now distribute spyware-fighting tools, while independent programs such as Ad-Aware and Spybot Search and Destroy have gained large and loyal user bases on their own.

    Those tools can lead to some confusion, however. America Online users this week began complaining that the new version of AOL's instant messaging software was installing spyware, or software identified as spyware by other software programs.

    AOL said that the controversial software, called WildTangent, was a game component integrated into the new instant messaging package, and that its functions were covered by the AOL license agreement.

    Other recent instances have been potentially more disturbing. A recent CNET News.com investigation found at least one instance of a company distributing antispyware tools that secretly installed additional software, viewed by many as spyware. That company, called Spyban, has since ceased distributing its product.

    The new bill, dubbed the "Software Principles Yielding Better Levels of Consumer Knowledge," is viewed by some on Capitol Hill as a successor to the antispam legislation passed last year. But privacy advocates are still studying the language before endorsing it.

    The Center for Democracy and Technology, one prominent group that has recently taken a lead in the fight against spyware, says that it would rather see a larger bill addressing privacy issues more broadly. But a narrower bill may be more likely to pass this year, the group says.

    The tricky part with this or any bill will be to create definitions of spyware that don't include innocent companies and which actually are enforceable, CDT Associate Director Ari Schwartz said.

    "A lot of the worst cases of spyware are already illegal," Schwartz said. "The key is being able to go after these people. If you expand the definition of what's illegal, and you can't go after what's already illegal, it raises questions."

    The bill would require consent for software installations and require strict disclosure if a program collects information about a user and sends it elsewhere over the Net, creates advertising pop-up boxes, uses the computer for any purpose other than the stated purpose of the software, or modifies a computer's settings.

    http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1104_2-516...=zdfd.newsfeed

  2. #2
    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: OT - Lawmakers take aim at spyware

    That will be just about as effective as the CAN-SPAM act. Worthless.

    You know, I don't have any spyware on my machine.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: OT - Lawmakers take aim at spyware

    haha. yeah, i'm sure you're system is fine.

    I don't see how it could really be enforced. Suppose, oh I don't know, a Russian company does it. What then? Still, the disclosure is not a bad idea.

  4. #4
    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: OT - Lawmakers take aim at spyware

    haha. yeah, i'm sure you're system is fine.
    I really don't know if it's the system or the browser.

    Do Windows users that use firefox/mozilla get spyware? (I mean from the web, of course, since Windows XP IS spyware)
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  5. #5

    Default Re: OT - Lawmakers take aim at spyware

    I dunno, I have everything turned off in Mozilla so I have a quick, clean browsing experience with it. I've never had a problem with it wanting to download anything stupid.

  6. #6
    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: OT - Lawmakers take aim at spyware

    I dunno, I have everything turned off in Mozilla so I have a quick, clean browsing experience with it. I've never had a problem with it wanting to download anything stupid.
    I was a big mozilla fan, but I use Evolution as a mail client so all I need is a browser. I've completely moved over to Firefox, and it's really nice.

    I will say, though, that I've got my whole family (Windows users) using Mozilla/Mozilla instead of InternetEx/OutlookEx. They can't tell the difference, but I sure can because their computers break less often.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: OT - Lawmakers take aim at spyware

    I'm with Firebird/Firefox. I use Pine.

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    Member skyfire's Avatar
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    Default Re: OT - Lawmakers take aim at spyware

    I use Pine.
    lols, hardcore :P

    I use Opera. Been using it for a few years now, in that time it has grown to include a very decent mail client so i use it for browsing and mail. Generally hesitatant to touch any bloatware but Opera is still the fastest browser that doesn't cheat by remaining partially or fully resident in memory even when its closed.

    Regarding the spyware bill, I think its basically rubbish. The international law would render it ineffective, the fact that it would be very difficult to prosecute against even if it were isolated to the US means that I dont think its gonna get anywhere.

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    Member Doug's Avatar
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    Default Re: OT - Lawmakers take aim at spyware

    I use Pine.
    Bah! I telnet directly to the SMTP or IMAP port to send and receive my email.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: OT - Lawmakers take aim at spyware

    Bah! I telnet directly to the SMTP or IMAP port to send and receive my email.
    telnet? Wimp. It's all sockets and bytes to me.

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    Tree People to the Core! indygeezer's Avatar
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    Default Re: OT - Lawmakers take aim at spyware

    wait a minute my telephone fell out of the modem cradle....ok I'm back.


    I'm Mozilla with Outlook Express. Using McAfee and Spybot with the McAfee Firewall. Anybody wanna buy an unused copy of the 2004 Notorn Anti-virus?...ah well.

    Question...why now does my Dial-up box keep popping up every 4-5 minutes when we're doing off-line apps. ( Wife in Word Docs or Geez Jr running games). It's REALLY starting to "bug" me.


    yeah I know but ya gotta save $$$$ somewhere we can't all be on DSL or cable modem.
    If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around..

  12. #12

    Default Re: OT - Lawmakers take aim at spyware

    Bah! I telnet directly to the SMTP or IMAP port to send and receive my email.
    telnet? Wimp. It's all sockets and bytes to me.
    LOL, nice.

    Believe it or not I have telnet'd into an SMTP port and sent mail before.

  13. #13
    Member Doug's Avatar
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    Default Re: OT - Lawmakers take aim at spyware

    Bah! I telnet directly to the SMTP or IMAP port to send and receive my email.
    telnet? Wimp. It's all sockets and bytes to me.
    LOL, nice.

    Believe it or not I have telnet'd into an SMTP port and sent mail before.
    Oh, I believe it. I've had to do the same on occasion.
    You're caught up in the Internet / you think it's such a great asset / but you're wrong, wrong, wrong
    All that fiber optic gear / still cannot take away the fear / like an island song

    - Jimmy Buffett

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