The SPY Act, a new anti-spyware law, makes it impossible for consumer rights groups to sue DRM companies for putting spyware in their DRM (like Sony did last year, with its rootkit DRM). The irony is that spyware is already illegal, so all that this act does is immunize big media companies that sneak spyware onto your computer.
The SPY Act is supposed to help stop spyware, deceptive adware, and other malicious software, but it is unlikely to do any good and could actually make things worse. If enacted, it would block lawsuits similar to the one EFF brought against Sony-BMG for infecting customers’ computers with privacy-invasive copy protection. Don’t let badware makers off the hook — tell Congress to go back to the drawing board and draft a more sensible law.Both the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice have said that they already have the authority they need to go after badware vendors, and this bill doesn’t add any funds or significant tools for federal enforcement.At the same time, the bill would stunt states’ enforcement, preempting most of their stricter badware laws. For acts covered by the bill, state statutes (including consumer protection laws) wouldn’t be available to consumers themselves as grounds for a lawsuit. And it leaves enforcement exclusively in the hands of federal bureaucrats, specifically barring private citizens and organizations like EFF working on their behalf from using the new law to fight back in the courts.