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Oklahoma bill to open your computer to companies...
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 18:48:35 -0400



Begin forwarded message:

From: Valdis.Kletnieks () vt edu
Date: April 11, 2006 4:00:45 PM EDT
To: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Subject: FOR IP: Oklahoma bill to open your computer to companies...

(Note - this is an Oklahoma House bill, not a US Congress. Doesn't make it
any more right...)

http://www.okgazette.com/news/templates/cover.asp?articleid=423&zoneid=7

Get ready for Microsoft, cable and phone companies, and quite a few other people to know a lot more about what you do on your computer, thanks to House
Bill 2083.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Ben Fenwick

It's supposed to protect you from predators spying on your computer habits, but
a bill Microsoft Corp. helped write for Oklahoma will open your personal
information to warrantless searches, according to a computer privacy expert and
a state representative.

Called the "Computer Spyware Protection Act", House Bill 2083 would create fines of up to a million dollars for anyone using viruses or surreptitious computer techniques to break on to someone's computer without that person's knowledge and acceptance, according to the bill's state Senate author, Clark
Jolley.

"The bill has a clear prohibition on anything going in without your permission. You have to grant permission", said Jolley, R-Edmond. "You can look at your license agreement. It will say whether they have the ability to take that
information or not".

But therein lies the catch.

If you click that "accept" button on the routine user's agreement, the proposed
law would allow any company from whom you bought upgradable software the
freedom to come onto your computer for "detection or prevention of the
unauthorized use of or fraudulent or other illegal activities in connection with a network, service, or computer software, including scanning for and
removing computer software prescribed under this act".

That means that Microsoft (or another company with such software) can erase spyware or viruses. But if you have, say, a pirated copy of Excel - Microsoft (or companies with similar software) can erase it, or anything else they want to erase, and not be held liable for it. Additionally, that phrase "fraudulent
or other illegal activities" means they can:

- Let the local district attorney know that you wrote a hot check last month.

 - Let the attorney general know that you play online poker.

- Let the tax commission know you bought cartons of cigarettes and didn't
pay the state tax on them.

- Read anything on your hard drive, such as your name, home address, personal identification code, passwords, Social Security number ... etc., etc., etc.

"I think in broad terms that is still a form of spying", said Marc Rotenberg, attorney and executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C. "Some people say, 'Well, it's justified'. I'm not so clear that should be the case. Particularly if the reason you are passing legislation
is to cover that activity".

The bill is scheduled to go back before the House for another vote. Will the Oklahoma House, on behalf of all computer users in the state of Oklahoma, click
"accept"?

(More in the online article)

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