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Introduction of the Internet Spyware (I-SPY) Prevention Act

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


INTRODUCTION OF THE INTERNET SPYWARE (I-SPY) PREVENTION ACT -- (Extensions of Remarks - June 24, 2004)

SPEECH OF
HON. BOB GOODLATTE
OF VIRGINIA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 2004

Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce the Internet Spyware (I-SPY) Prevention Act. This important legislation will punish those that use software to break into consumers' computers to conduct nefarious activities.

Spyware is a growing and serious problem. The Federal Trade Commission has testified that "Spyware appears to be a new and rapidly growing practice that poses a risk of serious harm to consumers." Not only does Spyware provide the tools for criminals to crack into computers to commit crimes, but it can also provide the means to alter a computer's security settings or even take over the memory of a users' computer in order to send spam or conduct other despicable acts.

The I-Spy Prevention Act would impose criminal penalties on the most egregious behaviors associated with spyware.
Specifically, this legislation would impose up to a five-year prison sentence on anyone who uses software to intentionally break into a computer and uses that software in furtherance of another federal crime. In addition, it would impose up to a two-year prison sentence on anyone who uses software to intentionally break into a computer and then either alters the computer's security settings, or obtains personal information with the intent to defraud or injure a person or with the intent to damage a computer. By imposing stiff penalties on these bad actors, this legislation will help deter the use of Spyware, and will thus help protect consumers from these aggressive attacks.

In addition, this legislation would not interfere with the ability of companies to continue to develop innovative technological solutions to block Spyware. Any successful solution to Spyware must consist of a combination of tough penalties for the really bad actors and innovative technologies to combat Spyware. This legislation leaves the door open for technology to continue to combat Spyware programs.

Mr. Speaker, criminal penalties are necessary to deter the proliferation of the most egregious behaviors associated with Spyware, and I urge each of my colleagues to support this important legislation.

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