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Teenangels / Scrapbook / Articles / Spyware: the legality of spyware

Spyware: the legality of spyware

Spyware is on every legislator's hit list. Several states have enacted anti-spyware legislation. Utah's law is currently under attack in the courts. But New York and California are expected to adopt their own versions of anti-spyware laws, as are other states. Currently, without being creative and applying anti-hacking laws to spyware, there are no federal laws. Internationally, laws have been and will continue to be enacted. Once the dust settles, we will post a link to the major laws in this area. Some of the laws can be problematic. They have too broad a reach, and can affect parental control software that includes a monitoring component. It is very important that any laws in this area are carefully crafted both to include future spyware and to exclude parental and business monitoring applications.

Why spyware is used
Spyware can be a very good marketing tool. Companies which produce spyware gain lucrative contracts from many companies for the service they provide. Targeted advertisements are very effective. Because the applications target users of a particular site, they can be helpful to the users of that site by directing them to other, similar sites and services. Unfortunately, like most other things online, it is easily abused. This aggravates users; some feel that they are under attack, and others are offended by some of the materials that appear in pop-ups from adware and spyware. Over-reaching advertisements don't benefit the advertiser either. If no one clicks on the pop-up, the advertiser is wasting advertising dollars.

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