A United States Perspective on the Ethical and Legal Issues of Spyware.

Spyware is regarded as the largest threat to internet users since spam, yet most users do not even know spyware is on their personal computers. Ethical and legal concerns associated with spyware call for a response. A balance must be found between legitimate interests of spyware installers, who have obtained informed consent of users who accept advertisements or other marketing devices, and users who are unwitting targets. Currently, there is not widespread awareness or understanding of the existence of spyware, its effects, and what remedies are available to defend against it. For industry sectors subject to data collection and protection laws, spyware results in unintentional noncompliance. This paper examines the ethical and legal issues of spyware from a United States perspective. First, the increasing prevalence of spyware is discussed. Various types of spyware are then overviewed. Ethical and legal concerns, including privacy invasion, surreptitious data collection, direct marketing, hijacking, and trespass are discussed. Finally, various methods of responding to spyware, including approaches by consumers, industry, and the U.S. government, are addressed, calling for a need to resolve escalating concerns of users while balancing the beneficial use of spyware as a legitimate marketing tool.

Main Author: Sipior, Janice C.
Other Authors: Ward, Burke T., Roselli, Georgina R.
Language: English
Published: 2005
Online Access: http://ezproxy.villanova.edu/login?url=https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:178593