FTC Report on Spyware

The FTC has released a report entitled “Monitoring Software on Your PC: Spyware, Adware, and Other Software” as a follow up to its April 2004 workshop. I need to read through it, but it looks like a typical FTC response: “there’s a technology problem, consumers are screwed, so we should fix it through a combination of technology, education and enforcement.” To wit, the introduction concludes:

“The incidence of spyware can be decreased if the private sector and the government act, separately and in concert.

• Technological solutions – ?rewalls, anti-spyware software, and improved browsers and operating systems – can provide signi?cant protection to consumers from the risks related to spyware.

• Industry should: (1) develop standards for de?ning spyware and disclosing information about it to consumers; (2) expand efforts to educate consumers about spyware risks; and (3) assist law enforcement efforts.

• Government should: (1) increase criminal and civil prosecution under existing laws of those who distribute spyware; (2) increase efforts to educate consumers about the risks of spyware; and (3) encourage technological solutions.”