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Should spyware, dialers, etc, be criminal?


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#1 killspyprogrammers

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Posted 29 June 2004 - 01:25 AM

Seems to be that dialers are a fraudulent practice and should definitely be criminal. What do you think? Should dialers be treated as a criminal activity or should they be perfectly legal?

#2 guacamel

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Posted 29 June 2004 - 08:55 PM

Yeah they should!

#3 TheAlmightyButter

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Posted 29 June 2004 - 10:15 PM

Yes,it costs people a lot of money. I got spyware that messed up my CD burner so it wouldn't detect any CDs,or burn any. I really needed it for school,and I think it should be illegal. Computer stuff is not cheap,and neither was that brand new burner.

#4 wawadave

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Posted 02 July 2004 - 03:22 PM

hello
yes they should be illegal!!!!but a lot of phone company's like making the extra bucks that these dialers rake in for them.
the Almighty buck rules. and he who has a lot of them sets the rules! :ph34r:

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#5 gravylover5

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Posted 03 July 2004 - 12:01 PM

Spyware should definately be illegal. I am amazed that it is still legal, for it invades people's privacy and can cost them hundreds or thousands of dollars (specifically dialers.)

#6 killspyprogrammers

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Posted 04 July 2004 - 05:18 PM

I was thinking, couldn't spyware programmers or companies that use spyware be sued for fraud or hacking? This would seem to be an easy case since you could isolate the hacking program and then show it in action for a court and jury. If I ever get hit with another dialer I think I might try that. Or maybe a class action lawsuit. Even the phone company could be sued for negligence at the least.

#7 jasper

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Posted 05 July 2004 - 02:43 PM

It must be remembered that to cause bodily harm to the dregs of humanity like that would be dropping down close to their level. But as the old saying goes
"May the fleas of a thousand camels infest their armpits".
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#8 linc

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Posted 06 July 2004 - 09:06 AM

Do a Google killspywareprogrammers.
The authorities in Spain last week arrested some people for using a
dialler programe, looking at what they earnt! I can see why they do it.Sorry can't remember where I saw it, I think I read it one place was The register.

#9 rkingz

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Posted 08 July 2004 - 05:30 PM

Well.....

This is kinda-sorta going to look like eating veal at a vegetarian restraunt, as I do not want to look like I support Spyware on Anti-Spyware site, but I can say that like many things on the internet, and for that matter in life, blanket laws restricting anything usually does little to the evil doers, and restricts legitimate uses, and with that starts up the ol' debate: Is all spyware is bad?

I think a better topic question would be: "Is there a legetimate use of Spyware?"

I found my way into this forum after I ended up with one of the new versions of the CWS bug (or whatever you want to call it). It made me angry and frustrated and I took alot of time trying to get rid of it, as a matter of fact I have an HJ log posted in Malware forum that someone is currently helping me with. The first 2 nights I had it, I stayed up until 4 am trying to fix it, and I had to work at 8. I am still angry, not so much the fact I was niave and taken advantage of, or the harm it did, (not much, I started using Netscape again) but the fact that this was a meaningless, senseless, and deliberate attempt to screw people. If the fix was a simple matter of adding pop-ups to the bad list, or resetting my home page, or heck, even a simple removal of 1 file I wouldn't care so much about CWS. The fact is I am truly angry that whoever made this version wanted to make sure it would not go away, and only experts (thanks Scoff) would be able to get rid of it. Do they think I am going to buy anything from a popup that screwed my computer, or I would really enjoy the "enhancements" they so generously provided? Though technically spyware or adware, in my book this is a virus or how it's put here, true Malware.

That long diatribe, was bascially to say I don't favor harmful adware, or spyware that takes my info to sell to others, changes the operation of my computer, or in severe cases steal passwords and etc. from people. But here is my objection to making ALL Spyware illegal: I dont mind legitimate Spyware, if I know about it, agree to it, and the company using it gives me full disclosure of what it is checking and by no means sells any info to others.

I know to some this is blasphemy, as I't's been recommended by a staffer here that I remove Backweb and other legit update software to keep Big Brother out. I admit to being gullable and assume the best, but I am also not ready to do a Charlton Heston with a "You can install Backweb when you pry my keyboard out of my cold dead hands." attitude.

I know there is a big "trust no one" attitude out there, heck, we have to tell our 2nd grader not to trade any food items at school lunch because of ONE butthead out there gave a kid a hash brownie. I'm not sure if that means all brownies should be illegal.

One question before the screaming starts: doesn't most anti-spyware programs send information about your computer to it's home site when checking for updates? Is this spying?

Thanks for hearing me out, and uhh... pass me a brownie.
Rkingz :whistle:

#10 Misereor

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Posted 09 July 2004 - 01:31 AM

There is no such thing as "legit spyware".
If you are given reasonable notice that a product will phone home, then you are aware of what it is doing. How is that spying?

Spyware meddles with you private property, performs certain actions in order to do things you didn't agree to, and steals your resources and private information.


All legit companies have to do, is to include a list of what information their program collects, what it is used for, and provide an uninstall function that is capable of removing their *entire* program.
(Not uninstalling the functionality of the program, but at the same time leaving the information gathering part behind.)

If they can't do that, then quite frankly they haven't got what it takes to operate as a professional online business.


And as a side note.
In my opinion spyware is already illegal under the existing laws of most civilized countries. (Laws regarding fraud and theft mostly.)
They just aren't enforced.

#11 SpywareDestroyer

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 12:42 PM

Yeh, it should be illegal!

#12 jasper

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 01:33 PM

Why the arguments. We need a worldwide ban NOW. The governments should get their backsides and do it, or are commercial reasons stopping them?
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#13 reub2000

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 03:56 AM

Knowing the lawmakers in this country, I'd say any law they made would have very bad wording. Just look at the DMCA. Shift keys, felt tip pens, and 3rd party ink cartages are all technically illegal under the DMCA.

#14 Taylor

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Posted 23 July 2004 - 08:07 PM

Because such dialer activity is done without the proper consent
of the "victim", I agree that it should be illegal.
However, even if it were, would it be completely stopped?
Instances may even increase under a proposed illegal
declaration, since so many people tend to rebel and be drawn toward
what they are told is wrong.

Edited by Taylor, 23 July 2004 - 08:16 PM.

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#15 jcuz

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 12:29 AM

Yes, by all means. My computer is my personal property; it resides in my home, which is sacrosanct. An invation of my home is illegal on several levels, and here in Texas, it is not uncommon for property owners who shoot intruders to get off without even going to court. If someone invades my computer, he/she/it is invading my property, and I should have the right to stop or prevent that invasion, up to and including violent force. And since my computer is my personal property and is in my home, an invasion of my computer is tantamount to rape, and since the invasion is most certainly done without my permission, it becomes forcible rape. That's a felony, and in some states it is eligible for the death penalty. I most heartily support world-wide legislation assigning the death penalty to any and all who create viruses/trojans/hijackers/dialers/et al and who spread these things, especially if they're doing it for profit. Execution by firing squad would be nice. I'd also be happy to supply the gun, the ammon, and pull the trigger.

#16 CyberRaptor

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 12:23 AM

There is no such thing as "legit spyware".

Agreed. The term "spy" means that the person being tracked is not aware of it.

Instances may even increase under a proposed illegal
declaration, since so many people tend to rebel and be drawn toward
what they are told is wrong.


Nobody possessing any intelligence would be drawn toward something that is harmful to their computer. And if it was illegal universally, no company would be stupid enough to risk a lawsuit that could cost them thousands or millions of dollars.

My computer is my personal property; it resides in my home, which is sacrosanct. An invation of my home is illegal on several levels, and here in Texas, it is not uncommon for property owners who shoot intruders to get off without even going to court. If someone invades my computer, he/she/it is invading my property, and I should have the right to stop or prevent that invasion, up to and including violent force. And since my computer is my personal property and is in my home, an invasion of my computer is tantamount to rape, and since the invasion is most certainly done without my permission, it becomes forcible rape. That's a felony, and in some states it is eligible for the death penalty. I most heartily support world-wide legislation assigning the death penalty to any and all who create viruses/trojans/hijackers/dialers/et al and who spread these things, especially if they're doing it for profit. Execution by firing squad would be nice. I'd also be happy to supply the gun, the ammon, and pull the trigger.


That's a little extreme, but I believe that the distribution of spyware/adware should be illegal and a punishable offense

#17 jcuz

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 10:45 AM

"Extreme," perhaps -- or -- Gentle and kind, perhaps. Depends on your viewpoint, and, to large extent, whether or not you've had CoolWebSearch or its ilk and have had to spend days and nights getting rid of it. Maybe we should turn the other cheek? One of my church colleagues is a latter-day hippie and believes that spammers and hackers are simply misguided souls who are "just trying to make a living; they probably have children to feed." (She also thinks Martha Stewart would make a "great First Lady," although Martha isn't married.) I don't know whether to laugh or cry at that ingenuousness.

As for your observation that no intelligent person would expose his/her computer to something harmful, I fully agree. But I can't believe for a second that all those hundreds, if not thousands of people from all walks of life begging for help on all the help-guru sites are less than intelligent, not do I believe that most of them deliberately and knowingly asked for the infestations they suddenly found their machines to be suffering. I certainly didn't, and since it was my teen daughter's actions that led to the infestation, I know she didn't "ask for it." The very fact that the purveyors of this garbage invariably resort to masquerading them as or concealing them in presumably legitimate products or services (such as "spyware removal" software) is incontrovertible proof of their desire to do damage to and/or inflict their will on others. This stuff is called "scumware" for a good reason, and that term perfectly identifies the perpetrators of it. Jail them and "rehabilitate" them? Have you ever seen criminal rehabilitation work? No -- death penalty: it works. Extremely? -- maybe; but effectively and permanently? -- definitely, but only individually. To a hardened criminal, the death penalty hasn't proved to be much of a deterrent. But to the criminals to which we refer? Maybe, since their tendencies toward obfuscation strongly imply a cowardly nature.

Since the creators and purveyors of viruses/trojans/etc. surely don't honestly report the income from their works, taking them to court and fining them would most likely not have a punitive effect. It could, though, if such "punishment" were sufficiently convincing. Try the "100% for 50 years" rule: investigate and confiscate 100% of all available assets, including computing equipment, and then watch the bugger for the next 50 years, confiscating any and all income and assets that might have accumulated. If he/she even looks at a computer again, immediately invoke and apply the death penalty.

"Rehabilitative imprisonment" might work, but only if it's handled in the right way. Normally, rehab in prison is at best a sad joke. However, if a convicted spammer/viruser/trojanner is placed in a cell with a large lifer named Bubba and his screams are ignored, a prison term might have a beneficial effect. The scumware purveyor wouldn't be able to sit in front of a computer for a loooooong time, and anytime he tried, it would evoke vivid memories. That COULD lead to rehabilitiation, but I doubt it. --There, you see? Your pleas have reached me: I'm being charitable. You should be a social worker. I, on the other hand, would still willingly be an executioner. In the meantime, the 10 or 12 virus-protection applications I'm having to run these days might leave me enough resources to visit the Snopes website so I can research the urban legend that alleges there was once an honest politician. Have a smiley-face day.

#18 breadman

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 07:04 PM

you think that that would do anything? make it so people are sweating out with fear while their writing these prog's? most of the coders probably know how shit this is going to be for a lot of people but need the cash. aren't the adverts beamed through to yor tv an invasion of privacy in the same respect, should we kill channel programmers for interupting our tv?

i think this will end up kind of like fly-postering, with similar sentances. The people who are advertising CAN be prosecuted, but probably wont be. And the authors will be hammered hard if a big noise is made from somewhere... not really fair or constructive, just the way things usually are

#19 Muriel

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 12:55 AM

Ah, this is always an interesting subject to see/hear discussed. :weee:

Responding to the comment made earlier about people needing to be intelligent to avoid getting crapware on their systems, I'll just say that I believe it to be a matter of primarily needing to be informed. A person can speak five languages and be an expert in any number of fields, but all that intelligence doesn't help if they aren't informed about the malware out there and how to avoid it.

I kinda like the idea of banning the malware programmers (if they were even caught and then, if they were even charged and convicted) from ever touching a computer or having access to the net again. Programmer friends of mine have compared that to being castrated :gack:

It's not a matter of whether or not crapware is legal or not--rest assured it is illegal, but as mentioned above it is a matter of specific laws needing to be enforced(and created) and loopholes needing to be tied up and rendered useless. I've been insanely busy for several weeks and haven't had a chance to check up on that Senate bill dealing with Spyblocking, much less anything else, but hopefully it's getting passed. Of course once the laws are in place and enforced, it would help if M$ would make a little more effort to take their security more seriously in their programming too. :cool:

#20 DawsonV5

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 02:59 AM

I believe they should be illegal. Having a foreign entity take over your own property is rediculoius. Down with Spyware!

#21 davedavedave

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 08:38 PM

I'm currently the victim of some recurring nasty stuff, including a dialer

details here: -

http://forums.spywar...ST&f=18&t=24131

Legally, I think there's an issue with the fact that much spy/ad ware is included in the terms and conditions of installed free software.

So the companies can just say that the downloader was made aware of what was being loaded onto their PC.

However, something needs to be done; it's obvious that no one is going to read a 10 page document of terms and conditions, which happen to have a couple of sentences about the spyware.

I'm pretty aware when it comes to computers and security, yet I've been the victim of these practices; I feel sorry for those millions who are less aware who are getting fleeced by these things.

#22 Hydroponic Garden

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 10:05 PM

Whether or not is should or shouldn't be illegal doesn't matter, it is a rhetorical question.... Also, it would put a strike in the economy as well.. you know how much money anti-spyware, virus, and other companies like that make money off those people? LOL.... a lot, let's keep it in reality people.


"should the sky be red?" lol


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Incens'd with indignation He stood Unterrified, and like a comet burn'd, That fires the length of Ophiucus huge In th' artic sky, and from his horrid hair Shakes pestilence and war.

#23 Budfred

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 10:29 PM

Some spyware is already illegal and there are realistic efforts to make more of it illegal... Since it is largely unregulated and probably untaxed money involved in the malware industry, I think the economy can easily function well without that financial "boost"... In fact, malware costs millions and possibly billions in lost time, productivity and repair costs.... I think the economy would receive a real boost if we could find a way to wipe it out.... We may never be able to do that, but every malware pusher that is sent to jail or bankrupted will at least reduce the onslaught for a while....
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#24 Hydroponic Garden

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Posted 22 September 2004 - 12:46 AM

You keep thinking that.... it wont boost anything. And trust me, as illegal as some of it may be they obviously aren't cracking down on it. That illegal spyware keeps hunderds of companies in business, my friend. You think hacking is always legal? You think planting a virus is LEGAL? HELL NO! But the fact is All them Anti-virus companies etc are multi million dollar industries.


-Hydroponic Garden

Edited by Hydroponic Garden, 22 September 2004 - 12:47 AM.

Incens'd with indignation He stood Unterrified, and like a comet burn'd, That fires the length of Ophiucus huge In th' artic sky, and from his horrid hair Shakes pestilence and war.

#25 Hydroponic Garden

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Posted 22 September 2004 - 12:48 AM

AS corrected, probably multi billion

-Hydroponic Garden
Incens'd with indignation He stood Unterrified, and like a comet burn'd, That fires the length of Ophiucus huge In th' artic sky, and from his horrid hair Shakes pestilence and war.

#26 Goldstandard

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 05:11 AM

I agree that spyware should be made illegal. The only problem is how to define it in legal terms that won't infringe on legal software and advertising.

The way I would go about it would be to define illegal software such as spyware, malware, etc., as something that installs itself on your computer without your consent, or performs operations other than what is stated, and/or cannot be removed easily and its effects reversed.

Feel free to criticize my stab at this. I am sure the whores in Washington couldn't even come close doing it as good as I did. (Where is a Thomas Jefferson when you need him?)

I haven't been here in a while, my spyware problems are few since I got informed. However a week or so ago a trojan infected my computer and so badly mangled my windows installation I had to reinstall windows. I am so glad I backed up most of my files!

While I can sympathise with some people's anger, I don't think it is right to kill them. After all, the punishment must fit the crime shouldn't it? How does execution fit with their crime. I can understand execution for murder, that is a life for a life, but not for creating spyware.

Perhaps we should lock them up in a cell with only an obsolete 486 windows 95 computer and have it loaded with nothing but spyware that constantly redirects him to useless search pages. Then we should set up a website and give him the url to go to it. At the website will be a form he can fill out, if he can fill it out he will be released. Make sure the spyware constantly redirects him away whenever he trys to fill out the form. Don't release him until he manages to fill out the form.

Oh, and he isn't allowed to use these forums for help either.

I don't believe it is the government's job to fix criminals, only to punish them for their crimes. It is up to them if they want to change their ways.

One more thing, I forget if swear words are permitted in these forums. I caught myself several times using them, hopefully none are left. What can I say, I'm a potty mouth.

#27 Dark Lily

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 04:21 PM

The problem with trying to enforce laws that would deal with spyware/malware(or even spam for that matter) is that many of the companies/individuals that create and distribute the software are located outside of the United States. It would be a wasted breath of tax dollars and manpower. For now, we'll just have to be extremely annoyed and give thanks to the creators of programs such as Spybot Search & Destroy 1.3, Ad-aware & Hijack this.

#28 GruffyBear

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Posted 20 November 2004 - 02:37 PM

The problem with trying to enforce laws that would deal with spyware/malware(or even spam for that matter) is that many of the companies/individuals that create and distribute the software are located outside of the United States.

View Post


I'd like to focus on just one element, (i.e. Browser redirection); primarily because the issue is clearcut and simple. I've had help twice from the Forums with fixes, and done six other systems with just Spybot; thanks to everyone.

I know that in most of these cases, the redirection occured without ever agreeing to download anything. An analogy is someone coming into your home and changing the channel on the TV, and altering the controls so that you can't set it back. Seems obvious that it should be illegal; probably is.

I'd be interested to know if anyone has ever been successfully prosecuted for doing this, what happened to them, and does anyone know what law they were charged under.

Is there a Federal Law dealing with the problem? Is there a Federal Agency charged with tracking down these people?

I used to work in the Electrical Distribution Industry. It was common knowledge that, years before, a group of manufactures were charged under the Robinson-Patman Antitrust Act; a number of bigshots received jail time, and even years later, Manufacturers and their Reps were terrified of another prosecution.

It's obvious from looking at the forums, that there are probably hundreds of thousands of infections out there; businesses, average people, VOTERS. You'd think that one really stiff penalty, high profile prosecution would have a real chilling effect. Probably make some politician a hero.

Anybody know of examples?

#29 jabm67

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 03:29 PM

Since so much malware seems to originate out of the US, illegality isn't going to be worth anything.

I found spyware on my machine that came in on children's games I bought in a mall. Humongous Entertainment sold stuff with the infamous TSADBOT agent in it. Mattel sold stuff (Barbie games, in my case) with the DSSAGENT adware in it.

It does not matter to me that I can download things from their sites that will fix the problem. They have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted, and soulless entities (explicitly including corporations) deserve no forgiveness and no second chances. I'll never buy anything, of any sort, from them, and I let as many people as possible know about it.

Call it a boycott if you want, but hitting them in the wallet is the only thing they feel.

#30 Bjerrk

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 01:36 PM

Since so much malware seems to originate out of the US, illegality isn't going to be worth anything.

View Post


To my knowing a great amount of all spyware is actually coming from the states.

Something else: Statistics show that every personal computer contians 'bout 29 pieces of spyware, ad-ware or malware :( .

Great forum this :excl:

Kind regards Bjerrk (Denmark)

#31 ErikAlbert

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 04:42 AM

Maybe this website gives the numbers of spam emails. which I found after a quick search :
http://www.commtouch..._04060102.shtml
ErikAlbert
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