Constituent Education Workshop Series: Spyware and Annoyware
April 15, 2004
On Thursday April 15, 2004 the Internet Caucus Advisory Committee held its Constituent Education Workshop Series event, hosted in conjunction with the Internet Caucus co-chairs -- Senators Burns and Leahy and Congressmen Goodlatte and Boucher. This event, the second in a series of workshops, was designed to help Congressional offices to reach out and educate their constituents on how to manage computer or Internet related problems.
Newspapers and media outlets in congressional districts have been running stories about the growing computer menace that the FTC has dubbed as "spyware" or "annoyware." More and more frustrated consumers are finding these programs on their computers and the backlash against the practice has begun. The FTC summit that was held on April 19, 2004 was coordinated in response to consumer complaints about spyware and it explored the many issues associated with it.
The ICAC assembled a panel of experts on spyware and annoyware to provide congressional offices with resources to reach out and educate constituents about how to deal with this growing practice. Sample press releases, Web site templates, newsletters and town hall meeting materials were distributed so that offices could respond to constituent complaints about spyware. The materials, on the CD-ROM, include basic tips on how to remove spyware and how to avoid it.
The expert panel answered questions that many constituents are currently dealing with including:
- What are the telltale symptoms that you have spyware on your machine?
- What are examples of the most devious of these programs and how they operate?
- How do you rid your computer of spyware?
- How do you prevent spyware from infecting your computer?
Congressional offices are urged to use all of these tips, tools, and information provided to educate their constituencies.
This is the second event of the Constituent Education Workshop Series. Future events will address current issues such as spam, privacy and keeping your kids safe on the Internet.