The coming spyware VoIP wars: and why anti-spyware laws won't matter

Yesterday, the U.S. House passed a strict anti-spyware package.

Yesterday, the U.S. House passed a strict anti-spyware package.

If passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Bush, the measure would impose stiff fines for such activity as reprogramming the start page on your Web browser, logging your keystrokes to capture passwords and other sensitive data, or launching pop-up ads that can't be closed without shutting down the computer.

The bill got me to thinking about how VoIP would be affected if these provisions become law:

In light of mandatory VoIP E911, those hundreds of smaller VoIP access providers without huge marketing budgets will have to resort to stealth to get the word out that they too, exist, and will offer E911.

This urgency will not be driven by greed, but by "we can't miss the boat" fear.

When businesses are driven by fear, some are tempted to do funky things within their capability. And to the "rescue" will come the pop-up and spyware scum with their cut-rate programs for smaller businesses.

The smaller businesses will clench their teeth and do what is necessary to do to get their voice heard.

As to the spyware companies, they are most certainly going to object to the law, as well as to their designation as a spyware provider. They are going to call themselves "adware," and attempt to articulate the difference.

 "No, we don't seize browsers, lock 'em up with pop-ups, or phish for personally identifiable information. We just follow your customer's surfing habits to better serve you and them," they'll say. In fact, they are already saying it.

This obfuscation will tie up the courts for years, resulting in new attempts at legislation.

Meanwhile, the bad guys who do go phishing and spawn pop-up windows that can't close will increasingly be located overseas where our rules and laws can't readily touch them.

Do you agree with my prediction? Post a TalkBack and state your case.