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Will the FTC's spyware study create new problems?

By MaryWeilage Editor ·
Is spyware a major concern for your organization? How do you detect and remove spyware? Do you think the FTC's investigation will help improve the issue? Do you agree with Jonathan Yarden that it will also create new problems? Share your comments about dealing with spyware in your organization, as discussed in the March 22 Internet Security Focus e-newsletter.

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Internet War Zone

by jim In reply to Will the FTC's spyware st ...

With 50,000 servers destroyed on Saturday and millions of PCs infected by Phatbot, it's time for action. Spammers, virus writers and spyware authors are terrorists and should be treated as such by law enforcement.

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A Balance is needed

by ahc7 In reply to Will the FTC's spyware st ...

Yes, Spyware is a very major concern. Should governemtn regulate the internet?, no. What best is for the commerence? Not the FTC, but pressure from the industry to prohibit spyware before the government is forced to take action. Maybe the Antivirus developers and scan for spyware as a part of an install? Lots of possibilities, let's explore as many feasable solutions before we make a quick knee-jerk reaction.

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The need is for IT and Personal Policies

by jyotko In reply to A Balance is needed

SPyware is a problem on the internet but I fear that the government's solutions may be worse than the problem in the first place. Additionally a large portion of these programs orginate outside the US where the FTC has no regulating authority. What is needed is tighter security practiced at the corporate and personal level. Many IT departments and indicviduals do not update security patches as they come out. Many home users are unaware that spyware is running on their computers or installed with many of these so called "free" internet features like desktop weather, news and file sharing software. People need to maintain vigilance or it won't be long before there will be a new "fee" imposed on our internet service to provide for "increased" security from the government.

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Use existing Laws

by bewolf5 In reply to Will the FTC's spyware st ...

Before the FTC passes further regulation, they should look at enforcing consumer laws already in place. Off-the-shelf or on-line purchased software should clearly list "all ingredients" on the package. The consumer is able to make an informed decision long before being confronted with the license agreement for "opened" software they can not return. If other products were sold like software seems to get away with, our courts would be up to our arses in fraud and misinformation suits. I can't imagine if my child's cereal didn't include the simple "may contain nuts" statement. Oh, by the way, if you want to force more simplified EULA's, force these companies to print the EULA on the side of the package and/or on the on-line sales page in a font size equal to the sales description for the product. At least it would be a start.

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Very interesting concept

by robwaybro In reply to Use existing Laws

While the existing laws mentioned don't specifically apply to software, this approach does have merit. I especially like the comment:

"force these companies to print the EULA on the side of the package and/or on the on-line sales page in a font size equal to the sales description for the product."

Then add to it truth in advertising about what "ingredients" are included upon installation, again, on the OUTSIDE of the unopened package.

May will not like this approach because they make some of their money from the "add on's" that are installed, not just from the sale of their product.

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A Good Start...

by Kieron Seymour-Howell In reply to Use existing Laws

Listing all the "ingredients" is a good idea. A smaller "good start" could be just ensuring that when you uninstall the software, it actually removes all the sneaky sub-applications as well. I have seen so many of these so called spyware apps and obviously hidden programs simply remain in the system, and this is not acceptable!

Some people may find that the benefits of the main software title actually balance the installation of the third party "spyware" and such, but when you remove one, all the rest should remove as well, as a complete clean uninstallation. This means, ALL registry traces and registry tagging as well should be wiped away from the OS.

-Kieseyhow

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Software manufacturers and PC sellers should help

by cbezzy In reply to Will the FTC's spyware st ...

Spyware is a problem, no doubt. Government interventions should be feared. One cannot expect my mom to purchase a new computer and instantly know how to install virus software, firewalls, run spyware scans, and know they will have to constantly deal with updates. How about offering a discount to buyers that take a course on PC safety and maintenance?

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How about this?

How about the PC vendors bundle the required safety applications instead of useless junk and corporate spyware?

So many mainstream hardware vendors install completely unneeded garbage onto their new systems. Compaq being one and IBM another that instantly comes to mind, and there are many others.

Many of my clients have more issues with these so-called "utilities" than with the new system. These utilities that do little or nothing for the end user except to bog down the system, lengthen and corrupt the learning curve, and open remote access ports. These practices are irresponsible and detrimental to the end-user.

It has become so bad that purchasing a new system from some of these vendors requires an immediate reformat of the local disk and reinstallation of the OS with a "good" installation. Hopefully the operating system CD was included with the purchase; which should be a solid law.

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Not without my consent

by Web Guru In reply to Will the FTC's spyware st ...

I think that spyware should not be tolerated. Not without my consent (ie. "Do you want to register?" and automatically opting Yes after a period of no user response).....and certainly NOT without my knowledge!!!! Thank goodness for products like ZoneLabs' Zone Alarm that alerts admins when a program tries to connect to the internet....Bravo ZoneLabs. The license agreements shouldn't be protecting the companies butt by telling a person that if you want to use our software, you must agree to this SPYWARE...and there is no other option (ie. to agree not to share the software) and still install/use it, you either agree to it or you can't install it..... NOT FAIR Corporate America!! Get the lawyers out of your heads and do what we (the consumers) want...rid the spyware!!!

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Another Freedom Gone

by samuel_pepys4 In reply to Will the FTC's spyware st ...

Look Gentlemen. You are wasting your time. The Government will take over whether you like it or not. The spyware will be theirs. The so called war on terrorism will be the excuse. Remember there are madmen out there running around with weapons of Mass destruction who are responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocents. Luckily George Bush and Tony Blair will have to answer to God.

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