Senators Try to Smoke Out Spyware

The bill would make it illegal to use the Internet to install software on people's computers without their consent.

Three U.S. senators are tackling the growing problem of spyware. The "SPYBLOCK" Act, which was introduced late last week, would make it illegal to use the Internet to install software on peoples computers without their consent, and require companies that offer software downloads to provide more disclosure about what the programs do and what information they collect. The bill also would require Internet ads generated by the software to be clearly labeled.

The bill probably would not cut down on the worst kinds of spyware, said Stewart Baker, an attorney at Washington law firm Steptoe & Johnson.

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