Laws Threaten Innovation

Opinion: Poorly conceived laws could hinder technology innovation.

All things considered, from a strict technology aspect, 2007 was a pretty good year. We saw the launch of several very good products and technologies and, while there were some negatives, they were outweighed by the positives.

However, there were still plenty of negative forces out there trying to slow or even stop some technology innovations. And, unfortunately, as usual one of the biggest threats are the poorly thought out and overbroad technology laws that seem to get continually proposed by legislators both in the U.S. and around the world.

So let's take a look at a few of the bad laws that have been proposed, and in some cases passed, in 2007.

One potentially killer law that has passed the U.S. House of Representatives is the SPY Act (also known as the Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act). On first read the SPY Act sounds like a good thing, as it looks like it will take a very hard line against Internet spyware. But like lots of bad bills, the SPY Act is so broad that it brings in lots of other legitimate areas of Internet marketing. And even worse, the law actually prevents states and individuals from taking action against spyware vendors and even legitimizes some forms of corporate spyware.

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