"An Act relating to computers, computer communications, and the Internet. "
"While prosecutions and enforcement may be challenging, SB 140 sends the message that Alaska takes computer invasion seriously and will not leave its citizens without recourse."
- Sen. Therriault
Spyware, which includes malware, trackware and adware, is the categorical name for any application that may track a user's online and/or offline PC activity and is capable of locally saving or transmitting those findings for third parties either with, or more often without, the computer user's knowledge or consent.
According to reports by the National Cyber Security Alliance, in 2003 nine out of 10 PCs connected to the Internet were infected with spyware. A joint spy audit report by Earthlink and Webroot in October, 2004, detected an average of 26 spyware traces on any given PC. Over a nine-month random computer audit, Earthlink and Webroot detected 82 million pieces of spyware and other potentially unwanted software programs.
Spyware can install tracking cookies that marketers use to monitor online activities to tailor pop-up ads directly to the user. More harmful programs can record keystrokes to get personal information such as Social Security Number, bank account numbers, login names, passwords and credit card numbers that can be used to commit identity theft.
In addition to frustrating users with pop-up ads that are misleading and anticompetitive, the cost of removing unwanted spyware from PCs in homes, businesses, schools, universities and governments is staggering.
Senate Bill 140 would make it unlawful for a person to engage in deceptive acts or practices using spyware, including causing a pop-up ad to be shown on a computer screen knowing, or with reckless disregard, that the ad is the consequence of a user accessing a certain website.
While prosecutions and enforcement may be challenging, SB 140 sends the message that Alaska takes computer invasion seriously and will not leave its citizens without recourse.