I Hate Spam
Well, my first take is that we need a Constitutional amendment, tentatively:
Information about a citizen belongs to that citizen, and, except for legitimate government uses, cannot be used by anyone other than that citizen without their permission.Then pass laws that require such permission to be renewed on at least an annual basis, prohibit selling such information and make it illegal for any commercial enterprise to send any unsolicited email to an individual, other than an annual request for permission to send them specific email, explicitly described.
Also, pass legislation specifically enabling services such as Blue Frog, creating a defacto do-not-spam list, one that actually increases costs for non-compliant spammers, which is the only way most of them are going to pay any attention.
What about malware (adware, spyware, viruses, worms)? First, we need some standards about how complicated contracts (such as end-user license agreements) can be, so that it's far more difficult to hide unexpected things in them. That should also include standards about how complicated the law can be (there will be a future post about simplifying government. In the meantime, feel free to give me your ideas).
One idea is that any license agreement is null and void if any of the covered software has any hidden functionality that results in the user's loss of control over any of their personal information. Also, any install software should require a separate action from the user to agree to install any software that communicates outside the local computer, with a simple, but accurate and complete explanation of what is being communicated, and why. If the developer wants to require some such software to be installed for the rest of the software to be installed, that's fine, but his only option should be to get a specific agreement for the software in question or abort the entire installation and back out any changes.
There should be a set of industry standards for naming and documenting what each task on the computer is, so a user can look at Windows Task Manager, for example, and be able to tell what gcasDtServ.exe is, what it does, and if it's necessary for it to run all the time. That won't stop viruses and worms, but will make it easier to spot stuff that doesn't belong.
What do you think?