This Software Is Spyware Free

from the what-about-Sony-BMG-CDs? dept

A group of big internet companies are apparently teaming up to certify downloadable software to make sure it’s “consumer-friendly and non-invasive” (read: spyware free). The testing will be done by TRUSTe, who is known for reviewing e-commerce websites for trustworthiness. However, while that system (which results in sites getting a little logo they can paste on their sites) has had mixed results, the way this program is set up may be more effective. It’s not about giving the software publishers a seal of approval to publicly show off — but to create an overall list of safe applications. Then, sites that aggregate programs for download can make sure they only offer programs that made it onto the list. Even more importantly, companies that advertise in some of these software programs can look through the list to make sure they only advertise on “consumer friendly” applications. What’s not clear, however, is what criteria the testing labs will use to test whether or not the software really is consumer friendly. Obviously, this could lead to some arguments — but overall, it sounds like a good first step in setting up some incentives for software developers to be more consumer friendly and for advertisers to avoid supporting those who miss the mark.

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Comments on “This Software Is Spyware Free”

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Andrew Fernie (user link) says:

Good plan, but...

the majority of people who end up with spyware on their system neither consider nor are interested in these kinds of checks and balances. Chances are it won’t occur to them. This will be a useful tool for the informed and technically proficient. I’m not convinced it will help end spyware in the wider world.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Good plan, but...

The idea isn’t for individuals to check it out, but to get mainstream distributors to stop distributing the crap. Plenty of people assume that if a mainstream distributor has it, it’s “safe” when that’s often not true at all.

Also, as the post points out, this may also be used to help advertisers know where not to put their ad dollars, which hopefully will take some of the money out of the worst offenders’ pockets.

Boo says:

Re: If it takes off...

Then a check could be added to browsers download manager to query the database and prevent software not registered. With a littel support form M$ and Moz, Joe consumer could be effectively protected from downloading trojans with their new IM toolbar.

Is there some kind of encrypted key to identify valid copies of software though, or is it just literally a list of program names?

JerseyRich says:

Better than nothin' huh?

This sounds like a step in the right direction. What I’ve always wondered is: who are these companies that would advertise using companies that distribute adware?
Personally, if I know that a company advertises in this manner, I make sure to AVOID doing business with them.
There have been situations in the past where legitimate companies unknowingly advertise with a company that uses adware so this “certification” should help all companies to steer clear of them now.

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