Proposed Spyware Bill Requires Permission From Users

Security Web Digest: Proposed Spyware Bill Requires Permission From Users

Arthur Tham


Rep. Mary Bono introduced a bill this week that would take the "spy" out of spyware. The Safeguard Against Privacy Invasions Act would require companies using spyware to get permission from computer users before installing the software on their machines. In addition, the bill would require companies to post an agreement in a conspicuous location telling computer users that spyware is being installed. Businesses that collect personally identifiable information would have to post an additional notice warning people of its plans.


Nortel Networks Ltd. is deepening its push into the security market with new products in its Layer 4-7 Alteon application switch line. As Web services take hold among enterprise clients, building security into Layer 4-7 switching platforms is a natural progression, according to Oliver Gnass, director of channel strategy at the networking hardware vendor. To that end, Nortel this week introduced the Alteon Switched Firewall 5114, as well as 8- and 16-port versions of the Alteon Application Switch, which was previously available with a minimum of 24 ports. Nortel also upgraded its Alteon Operating System and the Alteon SSL VPN software.

Homeland Security

The government has about $1 billion to spend next year on the development of new homeland security technologies and is looking toward Silicon Valley for ideas on how to spend it. That was the message from Jane Alexander, an official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to a group of about 200 technology executives who gathered Thursday at Veritas Software Corp.’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. The executives sought tips on how to work with the new research and development arm of the department. Alexander is the deputy director of the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA), a recently formed group charged with funding development and research of technology that could help the government thwart and respond to terrorist attacks and other national disasters. A major focus for HSARPA (pronounced “h-sarpa”) will be technology related to detecting and dealing with bio-terrorism threats, Alexander said.

Intellectual Property

Two-thirds of Internet users who download music don’t care whether they’re violating copyright laws, according to a new survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project published Thursday. The survey estimated that roughly 35 million American adults use file-sharing software, about 29 percent of Internet users. Those figures were generally consistent with other estimates of 60 million American users across all age groups. The survey said younger Americans, ages 18 to 29, were least worried about copyrights, with 72 percent saying they weren’t concerned. It reported 61 percent of Americans who were 30 to 49 years old were similarly unconcerned. Full-time students were the least concerned with violating copyright, with 82 percent saying they were not worried.

SBC Communications Inc. said on Thursday it had filed suit to stop a flood of recording-industry court orders that seek to track down Internet users who might be illegally copying music. SBC subsidiary Pacific Bell Internet Services sued the Recording Industry Association of America in federal court in San Francisco. The RIAA has issued more than 1,000 subpoenas to SBC and other Internet providers over the past few weeks, seeking to find the names of those who use peer-to-peer services like Sharman Networks Ltd.’s Kazaa and Streamcast Networks Inc.’s Morpheus to copy music, movies and other files from each others’ hard drives for free. Pac Bell has received 207 requests from the music industry to turn over the names of some of its customers, one request from a pornography company for the identities of 59 customers, and more than 16,000 warnings from an independent copyright investigator, the company said in its suit.

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in eWEEK.