Monday, February 11, 2008

ComScore Says 'Researchware' Isn't 'Spyware'

Hat Tip: Lost

Freedomlist member, Lost, certainly got it right when he referred to the old Douglas Adams quotation: "If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands." in reference to a recent Information Week article on ComScore.

ComScore chairman and co-founder Gian Fulgoni was quoted as saying:
"Market research tracking software (we have dubbed it 'researchware') needs to be differentiated from 'adware,' 'spyware,' and 'malware' and should not be treated in the same way as these intrusive and potentially harmful applications," Fulgoni said in a blog post Wednesday. "We must not let the purveyors of spyware -- the rotten apples -- give market researchers a bad name."
I can accept that ComScore software is not malware. Perhaps it isn't adware either. However, a look at the Wikipedia definition of spyware in combination with Privacy-invasive software appears to be in order:

"Spyware is computer software that is installed surreptitiously on a personal computer to intercept or take partial control over the user's interaction with the computer, without the user's informed consent.

. . . Spyware programs can collect various types of personal information . . . "

"Privacy-invasive software is a category of computer software that ignores users’ privacy and that is distributed with a specific intent, often of a commercial nature. Three typical examples of privacy-invasive software are adware, spyware and content hijacking programs."
ComScore apparently is of the belief that the trade off of the accelerators, games, and screen savers that come with the company's tracking software makes everything acceptable.

I don't care what it is called. Call it duckware, spyware, trackware or researchware. If a software installs without notice or my permission and then "reports home", I consider it BADware.

Ben Edelman: ComScore Doesn't Always Get Consent

InformationWeek: ComScore Says 'Researchware' Isn't 'Spyware'


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May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

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