The conference will be held on the UC Berkeley campus on April 1, 2005. A symposium volume of BTLJ will publish articles from papers presented at this conference.
Utah has already made it illegal (although a state court has struck down
this law as unconstitutional). Even though the Federal Trade Commission
has concluded that new regulation of spyware is unnecessary, the U.S.
Congress is moving forward with its own regulation which would preempt
state laws such as Utah's. Meanwhile, Internet users are bombarded with
ads trying to sell them technologies that purport to detect and eliminate
spyware which may (or may not) have been installed on their computers when
they signed up for a product or service on the Internet.
Is spyware the latest form of malware, along with viruses, worms, spam, and
file-sharing of illicit content? Or are technologies embedded in users'
computer systems that monitor certain functions and offer updates,
services, or ads for products users might want an engine of e-commerce that
should remain unregulated and indeed encouraged? How does and how should
the law define "spyware"? What kind of notice and consent should be
required before installation of such software is permitted? What
obligations (if any) do makers of spyware or users of spyware have as to
collection and transmission of personally identifiable information? Are
some forms of spyware surveillance unlawful, even criminal? Does spyware
make user computers more insecure? What intellectual property rights (if
any) are implicated by spyware that serves ads to users of websites that
have their own ads to offer? Should states or the federal government
regulate spyware, or is effective regulation impossible given the global
nature of the Internet and the ease with which off-shore servers can
These are among the questions that will be addressed at the ninth annual
conference, co-sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology and
the Berkeley Technology Law Journal.