Stumping for Spyware Enforcement
Last week I had the privilege to attend the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Summer Meeting in beautiful Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. NAAG invites all of the states' attorneys general and their staffs to gather several times per year to exchange ideas, learn about pressing issues in other states, and review the successes of state law enforcement. Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna moderated a panel on which I participated, the goal of which was to highlight the spyware enforcement work going on at the state level. The other panelists were Katherine Tassi and Aaron Munn from General McKenna's office and Justin Brookman from the New York AG's office. Before beginning the panel, General McKenna urged us to make a "sales pitch" for state spyware enforcement. Thus far, only three states (Washington, New York, and Texas) have filed spyware lawsuits, and our goal was to convince the other attorneys general in the audience that they should join the fight. CDT is strong supporter of growing the pool of spyware litigants by getting more states involved. In our experience, getting started with spyware forensics does not require a huge amount of technical skill or a large budget, and in speaking to the attorneys general I sought to convince them that they too could get started with only minimal resources. New York's experiences reaffirmed this idea - they received one of the largest spyware settlements to date ($7.5 million from Intermix) using a fairly low-tech setup. We published a recent report on this very subject. While it was clear to me from attending the meeting that the states' attorneys general have a lot on their plates, it was nice to see a few of them show interest in spyware litigation. The more we can get the word out by participating in educational events like the NAAG panel, the better off we will be in terms of ridding the Internet of this electronic scourge.