I have written before about the spyware or "scumware" programs that surreptitiously get loaded on your PC, only to display unwanted ads on your screen and to gather information about your Web surfing habits and report the results to online marketers of dubious reputation. Sadly, at least two genealogy-related companies have used these questionable marketing techniques (although one company assures me that they have since dropped this intrusive "service.")
Today the U.S. congress moved closer to outlawing such software. The House Energy and Commerce Committee today voted 45-4 in favor of the Spy Act, which targets software that hides in personal computers and secretly monitors people's activities or displays unwanted advertising. The measure is backed by Rep. Mary Bono, a California Republican, and has 28 co-sponsors.