Cyber Security Industry Alliance Newsletter • Volume 2, Number 6  • February 2006

Anti-Spyware Public Workshop
Defines Problems, Seeks Solutions


The Anti-Spyware Coalition held its first Public Workshop in Washington, DC on Thursday, February 9. The Workshop, "Defining the Problem, Developing Solutions," brought together industry, government, academia, policy groups, and non-profits to discuss combating spyware.

Deborah Platt Majoras

Deborah Platt Majoras, Federal Trade Commission Chair, used her keynote address to urge the law-enforcement community and the private sector to study new technologies to beat frauds. Majoras cited FTC’s enforcement against spyware purveyors as proof that consumers have the right to retain control of their personal computers, and should have the ability to uninstall or disable software they do not want. She called for consumer education on emerging technologies and, to that end, announced fall FTC hearings on consumer protection in the high-tech global marketplace.

Larry Ponemon

Larry Ponemon of the Ponemon Institute moderated a panel on spyware’s impact on businesses and individuals. Panelists explored the current state of the spyware problem, and its affects on privacy, financial security, corporate responsibilities, and productivity. Panelists included Michael Allred, Chief Information Security Officer for the State of Utah; Cindy Southworth, National Network to End Domestic Violence and Suzi Turner, SpywareWarrior.

Harry McCracken, PC World, moderated a second panel reviewing anti-spyware preventative measures available to individuals and organizations. Panelists Matt Cobb, EarthLink; Ed Skoudis,SANS Institute; Ed Felton, Princeton University; Justin Brookman, New York Attorney General’s Office contributed to the discussion.

Jonathan Leibowitz

Lunchtime speakers Jonathan Leibowitz, Federal Trade Commissioner, and Walter Mossberg, Wall Street Journal columnist, pointed their fingers squarely at businesses, including Fortune 500 corporations funding online ads distributed by third parties. Leibowitz suggested that the FCC publicly name legitimate companies sending nuisance adware. Mossberg accused antivirus software vendors of marketing inadequate anti-spyware products. He also attacked the ad industry for attempting to redefine tracking cookies as non-spyware.

Throughout the day, it became clear that the battle against spyware must be fought on multiple fronts. The public needs education. Policy and enforcement communities must find ways to track and persecute spyware perpetrators across borders and create legislation that serves a politically diverse world. New anti-spyware technology development is essential. Affected corporations need guidance on creating anti-spyware policies to protect and secure corporate networks and programs for combating the potential decreases in office productivity.

Effective responses will require anti-spyware industry collaboration, possible industry self-regulation and the establishment of best practices. Moreover, advertisers will have to make difficult decisions about how they are going to use newly available technologies.

Over 350 representatives from industry, academia, government and law enforcement attended this landmark session. CSIA was proud to sponsor the workshop breakfast.

The complete workshop agenda and list of speakers is available at: