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Bill Imposes Prison Time Over 'Spyware'

Thu Oct 7,12:24 PM ET

by TED BRIDIS, AP Technology Writer

WASHINGTON - The House on Thursday passed the second bill in three days that would outlaw "spyware," irritating software that quietly monitors the activities of Internet users.

It would add penalties of up to five years in prison for people convicted of installing such programs without a computer user's permission.

The bill, known as the "Internet Spyware Prevention Act," passed 415-0. It would give the Justice Department (news - web sites) $10 million to crack down on companies and others that secretly install spyware and those who attempt to trick victims into disclosing personal details and financial information in e-mail scams popularly known as "phishing."

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (news, bio, voting record), R-Va., said such problems were growing and serious. Offenders under his bill would be sentenced for up to five years for secretly installing spyware to break into someone's computer and commiting another federal crime

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