It isn't at all surprising to find out that AOL's new version of Netscape has a "trust rating system" that seems to say plenty of well known adware vendors are perfectly trustworthy. After all, AOL was one of the companies that made a big splash by announcing an anti-spyware product that didn't actually remove spyware. However, with all of these new efforts at preventing spyware and phishing scams with various "trust" ratings, are we putting users at greater risk? Most average, non-techie, users probably believe that if AOL says a site is trustworthy, then it probably is. Building up such weak "trust" systems only helps to undermine the level of "internet street smarts" that a user should have to avoid the various pitfalls of being online. There's nothing wrong with trying to provide more information for users -- but when it sets an expectation that it will protect users, when it clearly does not, is it making the situation worse?
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