Letter Opposing H.R. 964, the "Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act"
June 5, 2007
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly urges you to oppose H.R. 964, the "Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act," which is on the suspension calendar this Wednesday, June 6, 2007. The Chamber fully supports legislation to combat the proliferation of computer spyware, but believes that H.R. 964 is overly broad and would negatively impact legitimate American businesses.
As it is currently drafted, H.R. 964 goes far beyond regulating spyware and severely impairs the seamless nature of the Internet. H.R. 964 is structured in such a way that it would directly obstruct legitimate information practices—from everyday business transactions to marketing—because its definitions would treat all e-commerce websites as spyware. This should be neither the intent nor the result of any acceptable bill that is aimed at stopping spyware. H.R. 964 would result in an intrusion into consumers' use of the Internet by undercutting the operational functionality of web pages, fulfillment of product and service offerings, and important advertising and marketing practices.
The use of true spyware is deceptive behavior that harms consumers and businesses. This software infects computers, can be difficult to remove and disable, and in the worst cases, may surreptitiously collect sensitive personal information without the user's knowledge. Therefore, addressing spyware is a priority for the business community. For this reason the Chamber strongly supports recently House-passed legislation, H.R. 1525, "the Internet Spyware Prevention Act of 2007," as it focuses on deceptive acts and practices and imposes strong penalties on the purveyors of spyware, but more importantly does not target legitimate technologies or business practices.
Though H.R. 964 does contain helpful provisions to help the fight against spyware, there are aspects of this bill that would seriously harm American businesses. For this reason, the Chamber urges you to oppose H.R. 964. The Chamber may consider votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 964 in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten