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European Data Privacy Laws

Currently, there is not widespread awareness or understanding of the existence of spyware, its effects, and what remedies are available to defend against it. For industry sectors subject to data collection and protection laws, spyware results in unintentional noncompliance. This paper examines the ethical and legal issues of spyware from a United States perspective. First, the increasing prevalence of spyware is discussed. Various types of spyware are then overviewed. Ethical and legal concerns, including privacy invasion, surreptitious data collection, direct marketing, hijacking, and trespass are discussed. Finally, various methods of responding to spyware, including approaches by consumers, industry, and the U.S. government, are addressed, calling for a need to resolve escalating concerns of users while balancing the beneficial use of spyware as a legitimate marketing tool.