US News Senate Panel Approves Anti-Spyware Bill

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Anti-spyware legislation took a major step forward Wednesday when the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill to outlaw spyware that is loaded on a computer without the user's consent.

The Spy Block Act sponsored by Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) requires that consumers be given clear and conspicuous notice prior to downloading software. The bill said the notice must be displayed on the computer screen until the user either grants or denies consent to installation.

The notice itself must describe the name and general nature of the computer software to be installed and must also include a separate disclosure with respect to the type of information that may be collected through the downloaded software.

The bill would also require that third parties disclose their identity to the consumer along with their street address and a valid return e-mail address as well as specifically revealing their intent to collect and use the consumer's information.
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