US senator, Mark Pryor, wants to make it illegal
for companies to install spyware on PCs without consent, pointing out unwanted software can be extremely difficult to remove and hurts economic, security, and privacy interests of businesses and consumers.
"The industry has failed in self-regulating," Pryor said in a prepared statement. "It's time to step in and enact serious consequences against those who use this invasive and deceptive practice."
"Spyware is a serious infringement upon basic levels of privacy and security," Pryor said. "There are very few, if any, legitimate reasons for this practice to continue but countless reasons for it to be stopped, including identity theft and sluggish computer performance."
If the proposed Spy Act gets approved, companies would need a user to consent before receiving downloaded spyware and all spyware programs should be easy to delete. Failing to comply could mean hefty fines of up to $3 million for anyone violating parts of the act. Many internet companies and advertising have objected over concerns that the bill is too broad and would over-regulate the issues.
Similar anti-spyware bills in recent years have gone nowhere in the senate, however some think that this pattern will change given that privacy has become a major concern to the vast majority of Americans, according to U.S. Rep. John Shimkus.