Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


Andrew T. Braff


The question of how to stymie the proliferation of spyware on computers has been a recurring topic of debate in Congress and in the technology industry. With the passage of the SPY ACT (H.R. 29) a high probability, this article highlights its prohibitions, with particular emphasis on how they change current legal regimes. Most federal computer statutes—insofar as they address actions victimizing private citizens—require damage to the computer. In addition, one of the elements of common law trespass to chattel is damage. Whether intended or not, the SPY ACT subtly introduces a strict liability component into federal computer and Internet law.

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