Washington State Tries New Tack On Anti-Spyware Law
from the is-it-really-that-different? dept
Attempts to outlaw spyware haven’t exactly had a great track record (see California and Congress, for example). But Washington state thinks it has a better, simpler answer to the problem: create a new crime called “computer trespassing” rather than define the activities of the spyware itself. The state rep who sponsored the bill says, “It’s really a simple question: Did you have permission to put that on my property? If not, it’s a crime.” The bill exempts anyone who has upfront permission to access the computer. Sounds more like semantics than anything. The federal proposal similarly required user permission to download software, but raised objections that it could thwart or hamper legitimate products. Besides, a more significant problem is enforcement — purveyors of spyware are not the easiest folks to catch. The Washington bill has the backing of the state’s big tech interests and is expected to be signed into law soon by the governor. It will be interesting to see if the straightforward approach has any noticeable impact.