Who Gets To Define What Spyware Is?

from the the-user? dept

One thing that's been clear for a long time is that spyware/adware companies and consumers define spyware completely differently. Most consumers seem pissed off over one main point: this stuff gets installed secretly without them realizing what it does. In the past, adware companies would say that the real problem is the "spying" and would then claim they didn't do that. They might be changing their minds a bit. We've recently been talking about how Claria's attempt to change isn't really a change at all. All they did was get rid of pop-ups. They still install secretly in too many cases and they still are doing things on the backend that make people uncomfortable. However, in yet another article talking about the Claria makeover, it's implied that this is okay because: "nobody much minds behind-the-scenes spying." This is symptomatic of the industry thinking that they get to define what does and doesn't annoy people. The latest example? 180Solutions is suing Zone Labs for giving their software a spyware designation. This is nothing new. Other companies have sued over the spyware label in the past as well. But, what it comes down to is that it should be the user's call what they do on their computer and how they define stuff. The industry doesn't get to decide what people want on their own computers, and telling anti-spyware companies that they can't point out that many people dislike these products and don't know how they were installed just makes it seem like they have more to hide. The answer isn't to sue anti-spyware companies but to stop making software that pisses off users.

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  1. identicon
    shirk, 1 Dec 2005 @ 5:36pm

    Re: rikko

    Well, people in government offices should be able to tell. Sure, there could be no real law written because it is (whatever type of bs)ware when it gets on without you knowing, or having a choice. And on top of that, it decreases your computer's performance, gathers any kind of information(even from just cookies), can run as a stand-alone program, tries to assault you with ads even while your internet connection is off, or even wants something inappropriate of you or potentially illegal. There is no doubt that there is adware which gives you pop-ups about porn and even contains the full image of this porn within the ad, and if you're underage you just got screwed over by something you didn't want to happen! Or even a mature adult with a spouse who will put you in the dog house for something he/she has no proof of you doing or not doing, other than your word.
    I mean how do you define everything wrong a program MIGHT do that CAN qualify it as spyware/adware/the good suggestions for new names on this page such as malware. If an anti malware company wants to classify a program as what it is, and no one is against it but the company that designed the program- who is the bad guy? Yes the guy covering his ass and getting all huffy-puffy about people being saved from his good programming certainly is the good guy. No doubt those darn anti-malware companies are trying to make us happy now, only to betray us later...

    If a legit anti-malware company could simply merge with the government so that the government could have better insight on malware, perhaps they can illegalize malware as defined by their database in the anti-malware program. Who would sue in defense of their malware then, at the risk of going to jail? Who would then, still be a proud malware programmer daring enough to break the law just to rain unhappiness on people with computers, while gaining nothing in return by doing so. How much easier could it be, I mean anyone computer savy can tell what malware is and what it isn't. So why can't a skillful, trustworthy anti-malware company be able to correctly guide the government in their fight against malware? Sure, I suppose developing new programs not qualified on the list may be a way of exploiting the loop hole to this idea. But much like trojan related viruses, the way the malware is programmed should be an illegal part as well, so that the same malware company can't keep spurting out the same program with a new name while the old ones are becoming illegal. Who would have the time or the interest in creating a new peice of crap from scratch almost on a daily basis?

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