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House Committee Approves Bills Against Identity Theft & Spyware

The American House Energy and Commerce Committee collectively passed two bills on May 10 that aspire to strengthen users' security against exploitation of their social security numbers and computer-delivered spyware.

The Securely Protect Yourself From Cyber-Trespass, or Spy Act (HR 964) and Social Security Protection Act of 2007 (HR 948), correspondingly, are presently directed towards a full House vote in the upcoming weeks.

The disputed Spy Act renders incursion of consumer's desktop to steal data an offense. Likewise it will be illegal to change a consumer's Internet settings, like the homepage of a web browser. The bill also prohibits collecting client data without their prior approval.

Vendors allege that enactment of the Spy Act jeopardizes the power of marketing companies to harvest information from cookies and other ways to aim advertisement at their clients.

"Identity theft is a bane for American users, and both the people and companies have to pay for it," stated the Michigan Democrat and Chairman Committee on Energy and Commerce, Senator John D. Dingell, in a report on the bills, which he supported. "These independent bills treat this matter in an objective way," he told as per reports issued on May 12, 2007 by PCworld.

The Social Security number bill is going to impose a ban on the marketing or buying of Social Security numbers and permit state US Attorney General to litigate for civil fines equal to $11,000 for every breach.

Dingell averred that congressperson should initiate stringent laws stopping the misuse of credit card information by hackers, and pressurizing firms like retail merchants to safeguard client data whilst assuring that symbols are accessible for use when required, according to reports released by PCworld on May 12, 2007.

Nevertheless, there are several exemptions to the prohibition: police force, public health, national security, crisis situations and investigation "aimed at promoting general knowledge." The proposition contains a ban on displaying Social Security numbers on any site and would also ban use of Social Security numbers for accessing accounts.

Detractors of the bill like Marc Rotenberg, Electronic Privacy Information Center's executive director claim that the bill allows "extra exemptions" on the numbers' selling and acquisition.

Related article: Hack.Huigezi Virus Attacks China PCs Rapidly

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