New Anti-Spyware Bill Won't Stop Spyware; But Will Bring Back Questionable Anti-Piracy Measures
from the that-doesn't-sound-good dept
Politicians have been pushing for an anti-spyware law for quite some time — mostly because it’s the sort of thing likely to draw headlines that make the politicians look good. However, it’s widely acknowledged that such laws aren’t at all necessary. Anti-fraud laws can mostly take care of the problem cases out there — and the market itself seems to have actually taken care of the worst offenders in the space. Plus, with such laws (witness CAN-SPAM’s failure), they tend to do little to actually stop the activity, but more to define the rules by which companies can continue to do bad things without breaking the law.
However, with the law coming up yet again, Broadband Reports points to an even scarier part of the law currently up for consideration, the Counter Spy Act, as noted by Ed Foster’s Gripe Line. Basically, in the fine print, it appears to create a nice little “exception” for software companies that spy on users for the sake of checking whether they’re using an authorized copy — including the ability to let the software provider remotely shut off the computer or internet connection of those found to be using unauthorized copies. This has many folks worried that this is an attempt to backdoor in UCITA, the awful law from a while back that would allow software companies to remotely shut down computers of those found with unauthorized software.
So we’ve got a law that is unnecessary and wouldn’t even stop the problem of spyware if it were a problem — and opens up a backdoor to allow software companies to spy on users and remotely shut down their computers. But it may pass anyway because politicians want voters to think they voted against spyware.