The Score on Malware [Last Modified on 2006.12.03]
Malware — that is, any malicious software such as spyware or computer viruses — must be defined in our laws and outright criminalized. Stiff penalties must be imposed on the creators and purveyors of malware.
Despite the federal government's failure to do so, malware can be defined as: any computer software (executable or otherwise) that is either installed on a user's computer without the user's consent, or that performs any actions without the user's consent, including — but not limited to — sending or receiving data through any network or Internet connection, installing other software, or altering any of the user's settings or preferences with regards to any files, programs or operating systems. This definition should effectively cover spyware, adware, foistware, and all computer viruses.
Because of the prevalence of computers throughout the world, specific agencies or specific departments within exisiting agencies must be wholly dedicated to combating malware and tracking down its perpetrators. Because of the international nature of the Internet, all countries must be encouraged to participate in the active fight against malware and the punishment of its perpetrators.
Fines, imprisonment, and even harsher punishments should be commensurate with the threat posed by the malware in question, and the scope of its effects.