The L.A. Times has an interesting report today arguing that runaway spyware and other Internet pests are driving people away from the Internet. Many web users, it says, are hanging up their mice in frustration over unwanted intruders on their home computers. The problem is real–the LAT cites a survey finding that 31 percent of surfers are buying less online than before due to security issues.
Importantly, and maybe surprisingly, the Times doesn’t hold out much hope that proposed legislation floating around Congress will do much good. They are right–for reasons I’ve argued elsewhere.
The ultimate solution to this problem is in fact already coming from the private sector–where every entity with a stake in cyberspace seems to be coming up with anti-spyware tools. (See Jim Harper’s post on this if you don’t believe me.) While not perfect by any means, these tools are still new, and are getting better. While “spyware kills Internet” makes good newspaper copy, such reports of the death of cyberspace are highly exaggerated.