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May 3, 2005
How to Fight Spyware (Effectively)
A number of commentators have been channeling Wendy Seltzer on this issue, rightly arguing that we shouldn't create new (simultaneously over-broad/over-specific) laws to fight spyware, but rather, should follow New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's lead and simply use the laws we have. Over at the Trademark blog, Marty Schwimmer points out that we also have a stealth weapon in the arsenal -- the "(Ben) Edelman effect." According to Marketwatch, Ben's online muckraking has resulted in Ask Jeeves "terminating an agreement with a marketing/distribution partner that uses drive-by downloads (a form of adware)." Well done.
I see Ben's work as a kind of "Chilling Effects" for spyware. Journalists and litigants are getting hard data, and we're seeing real results. Can we apply this strategy to fighting other kinds of anti-consumer malware?
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