CDT Report on Spyware Enforcement Actions

By Eric Goldman

The Center for Democracy & Technology has provided a public service by releasing its report, “Spyware Enforcement.” The report describes, in table format, various federal and state enforcement actions against spyware purveyors. The report summarizes the action:

Since [2004], law enforcement officials have increasingly applied statutes – some long-standing, some relatively new – to spyware cases. Leading the charge has been the FTC, which to date has brought six cases under its unfair and deceptive practices authority. The Department of Justice has actively pursued spyware purveyors under the CFAA and the Wiretap Act, with 11 cases to date. And three attorneys general at the state level have filed spyware lawsuits under state fraud and consumer protection laws, with two more cases initiated under new state spyware statutes.

In addition to these government enforcement actions, also note that there have been dozens of adware- or spyware-related civil lawsuits. I don’t have a single page categorizing all of these, but I’ve blogged repeatedly on this topic here.

UPDATE: Fred von Lohmann comments:”The report is a useful reminder to Congress that we may not need more new laws to tackle the spyware problem. As we’ve pointed out in the past, if Congress weighs in with new laws, those laws may do more harm than good (especially once the lobbyists for adware companies get into the game).”