FTC holding spyware workshop - speak up!
The Federal Trade Commission of the USA is holding a public spyware workshop on 4/19 in Washington DC.
They are particularly interested in your comments on the following questions:
On April 19, 2004, the Federal Trade Commission will host a one-day public workshop to explore the issues associated with the distribution and effects of software that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge and which may send such information to another entity without the consumer's consent, or asserts control over a computer without the consumer's knowledge. The workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on April 19, 2004 at the FTC Conference Center located at 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. It is open to the public and there is no attendance fee. For admittance to the building, all attendees will be required to display a valid form of identification, such as a driver's license.
You may provide comment in written form or send to this email address box: firstname.lastname@example.org.[/QUOTE]
A. Defining and Understanding Spyware
- What types of software (particularly downloaded software) should be considered
- How is adware different from spyware?
B. Distribution of Spyware
- How is spyware distributed?
- What role does peer-to-peer file-sharing play in the distribution of spyware?
- To what extent is spyware bundled with other software, especially freeware?
- Do consumers know that spyware is being placed on their personal computers?
- How does spyware operate once it has been placed on a personal computer?
C. The Effects of Spyware
- Does spyware affect the functioning of personal computers? Does spyware interfere with
use of the Internet or programs on personal computers? If so, how?
- Does spyware raise privacy concerns for consumers?
- Does spyware collect personal information about consumers?
- How is the personal information spyware collects used? Is it combined with data
from other sources? Is it transferred or disclosed to third-parties?
- Does spyware capture the key strokes of consumers? Is key stroke information
combined with data from other sources? Is it transferred or disclosed to thirdparties?
- To what extent is spyware used for identity theft?
- Does spyware raise security concerns for consumers? Does spyware expose personal
computers to increased risk from hackers? If so, how?
- Are there special or unique consumer privacy or security risks associated with spyware
disseminated through peer-to-peer file-sharing software? If so, what are these risks?
- To what extent are the privacy, security, and other concerns spyware raises for
consumers different from those associated with other types of software?
- Does spyware create security risks for or cause harm to businesses, including harm to the
reputation of software companies and others in the high-technology industries?
- Does spyware benefit consumers or competition? If so, what are the nature and extent of
D. Possible Responses to Spyware Concerns
- What can consumers do to prevent the harms related to spyware?
- What can consumers do to avoid downloading unwanted spyware?
- What can parents do to minimize the risk that their children will download
spyware, especially spyware disseminated via peer-to-peer file-sharing software?
- Can consumers detect and remove installed spyware? If so, how difficult is it to
- Can consumers detect and remove peer-to-peer file-sharing software? If so, how
difficult is it to do?
- What can government do to prevent the harms related to spyware?
- Can law enforcement action reduce the harms related to spyware? If so, how, to
what extent, and by whom? What should be the focus of these law
- Can government-sponsored consumer education play a role in addressing
spyware? Is there a special need for the government to educate teenagers and their
parents about the risks of spyware, especially spyware disseminated through peerto-
peer file-sharing software?
- What can government do to assist industry in addressing the harms
caused by spyware?
- What can industry do to prevent the harms related to spyware?
- Can technological tools reduce consumer concerns about spyware? If so, how and
to what extent?
- Can industry best practices or self-regulation decrease consumer concerns about
spyware? If so, how and to what extent?
- Can industry-sponsored efforts to educate consumers and employees help to
reduce the harms related to spyware?
- Can high-tech industry partner with the government to address spyware?
- How can businesses work effectively with each other to address spyware?
- What would be the effect on the market for software if spyware were eliminated or
- Would the elimination or reduction of spyware affect the price of software that is
currently bundled with spyware?
- Would the elimination or reduction of spyware affect the free distribution of peerto-
peer file-sharing software?
Form found here: http://www.ftc.gov/os/2004/02/040217...orkshopfrn.pdf
One of the problems they are having and I see as well is the definition. If too broad you make legit software and information tracking illegal - if too narrow it wont be effective.
The Center for Democracy & Technology has been very active in the policy debate going on in DC - check them out at http://www.cdt.org.
Utah currently has a bill drafted and sitting on the governors desk that will outlaw spyware and several web publishers such as American Online, Amazon.com, Cnet, eBay, Google, and Microsoft have signed a letter sent to the Utah Senate opposing the bill. Lot's of swirl here folks. http://www.le.state.ut.us/~2004/bill...enr/hb0323.htm
Interesting things going on in the battle against spyware at the legislative level and thought I would share what I found. Enjoy! :)