2008-03-11

EPIC files FTC complaint on spyware-for-sale

My roommate, a lawyer for EPIC, recently filed a complaint with the FTC about companies that sell spyware on the premise that it, well, lets you spy on people. This is a novel approach to tackle a serious problem that aggravates the current explosion of malicious software on the internet.

More relevant to his motivations, this was specifically filed in an attempt to raise awareness and combat the use of spyware by men stalking and harassing women. Imagine what a powerful weapon this would be for a jealous ex or predator. The perpetrators already have figured this out. Legally, this is a gray area. Prosecutors are hesitant to pursue cases given the lack of precedent, and that means law enforcement is hesitant to build a case. While the legal system goes through the long and painful process to figure out the ground rules on this type of software (it has its uses - investigators will use this type of software legally to build cases with appropriate legal authority), people are suffering. By claiming unfair trade practices, as EPIC has, attention is drawn to the issue, and hopefully vendors will stop encouraging troubled individuals to break the law through their advertising.

He and I would appreciate it if you spread the word.

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