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Business Groups Oppose Spyware Legislation
Washington, DC, June 5, 2007 — Led by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), a group of more than 30 trade associations and corporations sent a letter today to leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives expressing opposition to the Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act (H.R. 964), which is scheduled to be considered by the full House of Representatives on Wednesday, June 6. The so-called “Spy Act” is intended to combat “spyware,” certain types of downloaded software that have taken over consumer computers.
In the letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), the groups emphasized support for legislative efforts to combat spyware and impose strong penalties on purveyors of such practices. In particular, all of the organizations supported another bill, H.R. 1525, which recently passed the House and imposes strong penalties on those who use downloadable software for deceptive, fraudulent or harmful purposes.
However, these same groups feel that H.R. 964 “goes far beyond regulating spyware and cuts to the heart of the information economy and the unprecedented growth of the Internet.”
A primary concern about this bill is that its definitions of “computer software” and “information collection programs” would extend far beyond unwanted downloaded software to cover the entire Internet and all Web pages. Given the potential significance of such an interpretation the group is requesting that legislation specifically clarify that Web pages and other non-spyware Internet components are not included within the definitions.
If not corrected, the group expressed concern that the legislation would ultimately “limit the seamless Internet experience that is responsible for the widespread adoption of the Internet by consumers.” Regulating Web pages as “computer software” and “information collection programs,” would, the group argues “radically alter the consumer Internet experience by undercutting the operational functionality of Web pages, fulfillment of product and service offerings, and important advertising and marketing practices.”
The 31 associations and corporations co-signing the letter include:
· Acxiom Corporation
· American Association of Advertising Agencies
· American Bankers Association
· American Century Investments
· American Financial Services Association
· American Society of Travel Agents
· aQuantive, Inc.
· Assurant, Inc.
· Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
· CheckFree, Inc.
· Consumer Bankers Association
· Consumer Data Industry Association
· Direct Marketing Association, Inc.
· Financial Services Roundtable
· Information Technology Association of America
· Interactive Advertising Bureau
· Investment Company Institute
· Internet Alliance
· Magazine Publishers of America
· Meredith Corporation
· National Coalition on E-Commerce and Privacy
· National Retail Federation
· Network Advertising Initiative
· Reed Elsevier Inc.
· Retail Industry Leaders Association
· US Chamber of Commerce
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The Direct Marketing Association () is the leading global trade association of businesses and nonprofit organizations using and supporting multichannel direct marketing tools and techniques. DMA advocates standards for responsible marketing, promotes relevance as the key to reaching consumers with desirable offers, and provides cutting-edge research, education, and networking opportunities to improve results throughout the end-to-end direct marketing process. Founded in 1917, DMA today represents more than 3,600 companies from dozens of vertical industries in the US and 50 other nations, including a majority of the Fortune 100 companies, as well as nonprofit organizations.
In 2006, marketers — commercial and nonprofit — spent $166.5 billion on direct marketing in the United States. Measured against total US sales, these advertising expenditures generated $1.93 trillion in incremental sales. Last year, direct marketing accounted for 10.3 percent of total US GDP. Also, there are today 1.7 million direct marketing employees in the US alone. Their collective sales efforts directly support 8.8 million other jobs. That accounts for 10.5 million US jobs.
The Power of Direct: Relevance. Responsibility. Results.