Fighting Spyware With Every Tool Available
Law enforcement agencies at the state and federal level have stepped up their anti-spyware efforts and are pursuing malicious software distributors using a broad range of laws, many of which predate the existence of spyware. That's what we found in a report we published earlier today. We're hoping this report will encourage more states to get in on the act by bolstering their online consumer protection offerings, training investigators to sniff out illegal spyware operations and stepping up prosecutions against the worst distributors. Our own experience shows that it doesn't require a huge investment of time or money to get involved in anti-spyware enforcement. Here at CDT, all it took was one Windows computer, an Internet connection and some diligent staff work to start identifying some of the worst sources of spyware on the Internet. Those investigations have already resulted in several complaints and have been instrumental in some key distributors being fined and ordered to stop their malicious activities. CDT has maintained for years that enforcement has to be part of the fight against spyware. Better anti-spyware technology can protect users, and better privacy laws can limit the exposure of personal data, but only aggressive enforcement will send the message to miscreants that making a quick buck by churning out spyware carries serious consequences. The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice have responded to that call at the federal level, and in the states, several attorneys general have made use of available laws to crack down on spyware distributors targeting their constituents. Here's hoping that other agencies follow their lead and help to transform spyware distribution into a more costly and dangerous enterprise for the bad guys.