Judiciary Committee Statement on Spyware
I support the substitute amendment to the I-SPY Act. I am an original cosponsor of HR 4661 because it gets at the heart of the problem we face with spyware: the regulation of bad behavior rather than technology. It provides strong penalties for those who engage in the illicit activities of spyware and phishing.
Spyware enables someone to gather and transmit information about a computer user without his or her knowledge. It can range from software that tracks every key typed to programs that hijack a user's system settings.
Even with the significant security provided for computer systems in the House of Representatives, computers in my office and others have been infected with spyware.
Spyware is often a confusing problem for consumers. Many don't know they have it or if they do, they don't know how to get rid of it. A Yahoo! Internet search of the term "spyware" yields over 8 million results. It's no wonder the problem is only getting worse.
Likewise, phishing, which occurs when a consumer is deceived and gives up personal information, is a common problem that must be addressed.
Rather than add to an already confusing regulatory structure, this bill takes a very narrow approach. It sets strong penalties for anyone who intentionally uses software to break into a computer in order to alter security settings or obtain personal information. It further authorizes money for the DOJ to prosecute spyware and phishing crimes.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill and yield back the balance of my time.