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October 13, 2004 -- WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Spy Act (H.R.2929). The Act outlaws the transmission of someone's personal information over the Internet without their knowledge, with penalties of up to $3 million for each violation.
Simon Johnson, Internet safety expert and author of the just-released book, "Keep Your Kids Safe on the Internet" (McGraw-Hill, 2004, ISBN 0072257415) welcomes the legislation but says more needs to be done to protect children from spyware - computer software that secretly collects and uses personal information.
"It's important to legislate against spyware, but people need to know how to avoid it in the first place. Kids are particularly vulnerable because they often download free programs that contain spyware," said Johnson. Such spyware typically collects information about what kids do on the Internet and may be sent to companies or criminals seeking to exploit them.
Johnson said that parents can protect their kids from spyware by learning how it works. In his book, "Keep Your Kids Safe on the Internet", Johnson tells parents in simple, easy-to-understand language, where spyware comes from, what it does, how to locate and remove it from their computer, and what they can do to prevent their children from downloading it in the first place.
"Spyware is typically hidden in legitimate looking software, often 'peer-to-peer' or 'P2P' file sharing programs," Johnson said. In his research for "Keep Your Kids Safe on the Internet" Johnson found that many popular P2P file sharing programs came bundled with hidden programs.
"I was shocked," Johnson said, "One P2P file sharing program I looked at came bundled with 15 other programs!"
Some of these programs record personal information such as a person's name, age, location, IP address, the web sites they visit, their shopping habits and the ads they respond to. Some can even stop a person's Internet connection from working if they try to remove the spyware program.
The results of Johnson's research are contained in "Keep Your Kids Safe on the Internet". The book also tells parents how to protect their kids from all the major Internet dangers, including pedophiles, pornography and spam.
September 30, 2004 -- SYDNEY, NSW -- State and Federal police have begun the biggest child pornography bust undertaken in Australia to date. In the first wave of a bust targeting around 700 suspects, police have raided over 400 homes, arrested dozens of people, and seized hundreds of computers believed to contain images of toddlers being sexually abused.
Simon Johnson, the father of two and author of the just-released book, "Keep Your Kids Safe on the Internet" (McGraw-Hill, 2004), has welcomed the operation.
"This is evidence that the Australian police take child pornography and paedophiles very, very seriously," said Johnson. "I commend the police for undertaking this operation."
"Keep Your Kids Safe on the Internet" arms parents with the knowledge and tools they need to join the fight against child pornographers and other predators. In the book, Johnson explains the threats that exist to children online - from paedophiles to spyware - what steps parents can take to prevent their children from being endangered, and which software parents should use to protect their kids.
Johnson wrote the book after discovering a lack of information for parents about how they could keep their kids safe online.
"This book is written by a parent for parents," said Johnson. "It contains everything a parent needs to know, is easy to understand, and explains step-by-step what parents can do to protect their kids."