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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 15, 2016 03:46 PM
From: Representative Karen Boback
To: All House members
Subject: Spyware
In the near future, I will be re-introducing legislation (formerly HB 496 from 2013-14 Legislative Session)which is intended to prohibit the installation and download of monitoring or tracking software (spyware) onto a cell phone without the consent of the authorized user. An authorized user is the account holder of the wireless telephone service account or a person who has the permission of the account holder to use the phone.

Wireless technology and the software applications that go with it enable us to easily connect with our family and friends, remotely surf the web and even watch TV, videos and movies on our cell phones. However, the ease of downloading software to cell phones can also enable others to monitor our private conversations, text messages and location. Some software can even activate a cell phone’s camera or video feature to spy on the phone’s authorized user. In the wrong hands, this spyware can be used to effectively “cyberstalk” any person on who’s phone the software has been installed.

This legislation excludes cell phone manufacturers, cell phone service providers, police and other first responders from the prohibition.

This legislation does not prevent the installation and use of tracking software currently offered by cell phone service providers, by parents who wish to use the software on cell phones that are part of their wireless service package.

Violations of the law will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office and the county District Attorneys.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this legislation. Thank you for your interest and support.

Introduced as HB1212