Friday, October 7, 2005

The Internet and the Law

The Washington Post has a quick introductory article to its collection of articles on internet security issues.

The main focus of this article is anti-spyware legislation that is being developed in Washington, D.C. It really strikes me as a libertarian that the feds are the last people we want to be fighting spyware. Sure, there should be laws against stealing data and identities, but there should also be an expectation placed on the owners of computers on the 'net that they will take simple precautions. I know that there are folks in Maine who don't lock their front doors, and leave their keys in their cars. But when you live in Manhattan, you use multiple locks and theft deterrents to keep the bad guys out. The internet is the world's virtual city, with millions of anonymous folks walking the streets.

Especially with so much freeware available for antivirus and antispyware, there's no excuse.

And remember the days before the feds unleashed the CAN SPAM act? That's right: we actually received much less spam in our email accounts in those days. A few big spammers have been put on show trials, but the email keeps coming in. That's about what I predict will happen with the new "SPY BLOCK" legislation, after it becomes law.

While it's unfortunate that so much brainpower and otherwise productive time has been spent by engineers and software coders to defeat spam, it's also unfortunate that so many folks have to put bars on their windows in certain neighborhoods.



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