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General Public Realizes KaZaa is Spyware

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the death-to-the-eula dept.

News 411

blankmange writes "CNet is reporting the slow dawning of the general public to KaZaa and spyware. "Virginia Watson unwittingly authorized a company she'd never heard of to install software that would help turn her computer into part of a brand-new network. The software, from Brilliant Digital Entertainment, came with the popular Kazaa file-swapping program. But the 65-year-old Massachusetts resident--who has a law degree--didn't read Kazaa's 2,644-word "terms of service" contract, which stated that Brilliant might tap the "unused computing power and storage space" of Watson's computer. " " Fortunately the helpful graph in the article compares the complexity of IRS tax forms with Brilliant's terms of use... guess which one is harder to read?

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someone else take it (-1)

trollercoaster (250101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364576)

i don't want it.

Re:someone else take it (-1, Offtopic)

anonymouZ coward (572542) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364581)

well done. your humble frosty one has been acknowledged.

Re:someone else take it (-1)

trollercoaster (250101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364585)

damn it! another fp!

Too much Marketing (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364592)

In todays world, marketing and business is going too far.
I hope news, irc and old protocols like that will survive to the flaming of capitalisme.

And the public cried... (1)

The_Pey (532136) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364593)

"Huh? - Can they do that?"

It only goes to show that you should read everything before you sign it. This is similar to discovering on your car lease that the company reserves the right to use the car when you aren't.

Re:And the public cried... (3, Interesting)

anonymouZ coward (572542) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364611)

When you lease a car, you don't own it. The lease company does. They can do whatever they want to with the vehicle as long as they disclose that up front. If you sign the lease without reading the fine print, that's your fault. Now granted, I think software companies are trying to snowball consumers by throwing multi page EULA's at them and burying the scary stuff. All the more reason to only use GPL software. I'm afraid to even boot my Winblows box without running Adaware right away.

Re:And the public cried... (3, Informative)

The_Pey (532136) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364640)

If you read many of your EULA's carefully, you'll find that you have a right to use the software, but you don't actually own the software... Really depends on the software company, but this is fairly common.

Re:And the public cried... (5, Informative)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364619)

Of course, the whole point of the article (if you've read it, though I'll guess that you haven't) is that the complexity of most EULAs are absurdly difficult : The type of convoluted, circular, impossible to read verbage that virtually no one could read through and understand even if they were truly committed to reading the EULA for every single piece of software that they installed.

Personally, I think that there should be basic laws governing software just as there are in the rest of society (i.e. There is a 20 page EULA every time I go to a variety store and buy a can of coke, because there are certain expectations and societal and legal standards that govern the experience : i.e. Drinking a coke doesn't make them own my liver) : For instance, no software can communicate over the internet without explaining, in simple English (not intentionally vague legalize) why it is doing it, and who it's really benefitting.

Re:And the public cried... (1)

dmarien (523922) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364675)

I was cruised through the GPL. And that same license has been the only license attributed to all software i've installed in the last year or so.

What might be worth considering, is a generic software application installation license that governs what software is allowed to do to your computer, and what your computer is allowed to do to the software. If the developer or publisher of the software has any additional terms, they must be appended and marked at the bottom of this generic EULA. This could cover every piece of software, reducing the size of most software's EULA.

Re:And the public cried... (3, Funny)

inKubus (199753) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364676)

Boo hoo, the poor public. If they cared enough about their computers and what was happening to them they would learn it. THEY DON'T CARE. THEY DON'T READ SLASHDOT. THEY DON'T SPEND 8 HOURS A DAY SURFING THE WEB. I think it's fine to exploit consumers weaknesses like this. Every other industry does, why shouldn't software?

There is not a box on the front page of the New York Times that says "Certain stuff written in this paper is false." Normal people assume everthing in there is true, and smart people know to take it with a rock of salt.

The same with computers. People SHOULD just assume the software works and is safe, and if you're smart, you won't and you will read the EULA.

Then, when the conseqences occur, hire a professional to fix it. If people shouldn't be expected to learn, why should we be expected to protect them out of the goodness of our hearts? I am a home computer "consultant" and I make good money fixing people's computers. People who don't give a flying F what's running on it, so long as they can look at their porn and write their emails and print their Word docs. People who screw up their computers and are totally fine with paying someone to fix it. Real consumers. Realists. Not cheapskate wannabe good citizens who like to spout off about "protecting the consumer". You've obviously never had a real job or you'd know there are no friends in business.

So, I'm glad companies take advantage of consumers, and I'm glad computers screw themselves up. Because it gives me a job. Don't try to take it away from me.

Cheers.

Re:And the public cried... (1)

burts_here (529713) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364737)

what amazes me is that people serisouly not to get ripped off, abused, taken advantage off and generally treated like crap by companys whos only reall point of exsitance is to make money...

Re:And the public cried... (2, Insightful)

dryueh (531302) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364741)

Whoah!

If reading Slashdot, surfing the web, and thinking newspapers are nothing more than corporate whores makes you a demi-god, then you take the cake!

I wonder if these poor fucks to which you're referring bring any value into the world at all? After all, the internet, computers, software, etc all have intrinsic value, right? All other focus is folly.

Sanitation engineers (that's right, garbagemen) probably exploit me in some way too...but I don't have a way to get that garbage away from my house (in the city) without their help. If I see my friend downloading and 'agreeing' to an obviously sketchy program, I'll probably tell him to think twice--cause I can help him out with places that I know a thing or two about.

It's called 'learning'

A little more like Snowcrash (2, Interesting)

dachshund (300733) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364693)

I fully support a system that requires all users to read the entire EULA, by monitoring their scroll bar usage and ensuring that they take a certain amount of time before hitting the "Accept" button. They could present the EULA one sentence at a time. Or perhaps they could even provide a little multiple-choice quiz at the end.

If the company failed to take these actions and allowed the user to click through anyway, they could rest assured that their EULA would be unenforceable. That would certainly shorten EULAs fast.

Re:And the public cried... (5, Interesting)

Spankophile (78098) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364637)

It only goes to show that you should read everything before you sign it. This is similar to discovering on your car lease that the company reserves the right to use the car when you aren't.


I've always wondered if the "click if you agree" thing is enough. I remember learning once in my highschool law class that when it came to contracts etc, both parties had to fully understand the extent of the wording - in order to protect people from "fine print" trickery.

It would seem to me that these over-complicated EULAs are an attempt to either confuse users, or get them to click "Agree" without understanding the terms.

If I "trick" you into signing something, you should still be legally protected. Granted of course that you can afford to take it to court.

But that's what class action suits are for right?
IADNAL (D==Definitely)

Re:And the public cried... (2, Interesting)

Saib0t (204692) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364681)

I've always wondered if the "click if you agree" thing is enough. I remember learning once in my highschool law class that when it came to contracts etc, both parties had to fully understand the extent of the wording - in order to protect people from "fine print" trickery.

This raises an interesting question in my mind. My mother tongue is french, I have enough technical knowledge of english to figure out what the menus of a program are and what the use of the program is. But I don't understand english legalese (nor french, for that matter). So would a court consider that they tricked me into clicking the I agree button by intentionaly obfuscating the agreement?

You could of course complain that I should have clicked the "I don't agree" button then. But what in the case I give this software to my mother (who has no knowledge whatsoever of english), she tries installing the software and by trial and error, finds that the "I agree" button is the only one that installs the program. Can she still be considered tied by the "contract"?

IANAL, BMWISTBO!?!? (5, Funny)

mekkab (133181) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364701)

(I am not a lawyer, but my wife is studying to be one)
While she was taking her contracts class, she pored over EVERY single contract (Wedding coordinator, photographer, hotel where the wedding was held, DJ, etc.) with a fine tooth comb. That is the lawyer in training method.

But when I speak with friends of the family who are lawyers, many simply sign every document thrust in front of their face becuase they know that no matter how you phrased it, they can wiggle out if need be!

That explains why I sign legally binding documents as I. P. Freely

Re:And the public cried... (1)

waster (230903) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364760)

If you don't agree, but still want to use the software, get your dog to click the 'I Agree' button.
That way, you technically didn't install it, you get the use of it, and I doubt anyone will take your dog to court over its agreeing to an EULA.

Re:And the public cried... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364641)

It only goes to show that you should read everything before you sign it.

Did you even read the article? Obviously not...

Re:And the public cried... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364653)

It only goes to show that you should read everything before you sign it.

Read article -> Comprehend -> Post

MS (0)

polar red (215081) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364595)

People should realize that EVERY MS product is spyware.

Re:MS (3, Insightful)

galaga79 (307346) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364680)

People should realize that EVERY MS product is spyware.
While Microsoft doesn't having a gleaming reputation in these parts it's a big claim to say that all Microsoft products contain spyware. The only cases I have read is of Media Player [slashdot.org] and perhaps Product Activation but both of those are open to contestation. Plus the only spyware that Ad-Aware detects after a clean Windows 2000 install is some IE registry thing, whose name evades me but that is trivial in comparison to KaZaa.

So until you back up your claim with some credible links I am skeptical.

but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364596)

What about Kazaa Lite?

I know it's got all of the adware goarbage removed in it, but am I safe to say that it has that distributed computing component removed?

hmm (-1, Redundant)

mrselfdestrukt (149193) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364599)

Wow, first post. Uuuhm . Didn't we ALL know that nothing is for free?

Blind bats with computers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364600)

Well what is some ancient fossil doing using computers? Trying to shop online for geriatric potions? What did you expect to happen?

There oughtta be a law.

FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364602)

FP!

service agreements? (4, Interesting)

dryueh (531302) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364604)

"The question is not whether people read and understand (terms-of-service agreements)--of course they don't--but whether they can be enforced," said Cern Kaner, an attorney specializing in software legislation who teaches computer science at the Florida Institute of Technology. "I don't think that companies should have the right to spy on you without your actual permission, but I think it will be hard...to prosecute companies who do engage in this type of practice if you have actually clicked on an agreement that gives them permission."

I'm wondering if anyone DOES know the legal implications of those service agreements. When those long agreements pop-up before installation, not only does no one read them, but you agree to the thing by clicking on either 'yes' or 'no' buttons....is a yes/no button a legally binding clause? They do not, at any point, get your signature nor is the agree monitored by anything other than the installation program itself (i'm assuming, anyway).

I don't know...I'm curious..thoughts?

Re:service agreements? (2, Interesting)

The_Pey (532136) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364625)

The other interesting case is where use of the software implies acknowledgement of and binds you to the service agreement. This case is one that happens without actually clicking on the "Yes / No" buttons. How legally binding is this?

Re:service agreements? (2, Insightful)

burts_here (529713) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364630)

I'm wondering if anyone DOES know the legal implications of those service agreements the real question is wheather anyone who clicks on them is actually prepared to honour any agreements, i mean most of these companys are providing a sevice that is at best in the "grey" rea of the law, i dont think a lot of users read the acgreements simply because they *will* igonre them.

Re:service agreements? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364682)

Probably depends on the country. I'd expect Europe to be a lot harder on anything to do with data collection than the US since Europe has laws against unneccesary data storage. Failing to provide a convenient means to opt out, and also failing to provide adequate notice of the data collection could look bad for them.

The US on the other hand has a generally strong cultural attitude to personal property. It may be seen as theft of your resources, although this is not that likely since the perceived damage would be quite small, and there is an agreement.

Re:service agreements? (1)

Tower (37395) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364684)

For all they can tell, a dog or cat walked across the keyboard and accepted the EULA... how binding is that... my dog isn't even 18 yrs old in dog years (11 weeks old today... almost 4-1/2 pounds). I think the click-through licenses have some minor issues ;-)

Re:service agreements? (1)

burts_here (529713) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364714)

I'm worried that they might try and fix it though, just imagine clicking through... line by line... *shudder*

Re:service agreements? (1)

junklight (183583) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364744)

>Burt "Out of my mind back in 5 minutes"

you are clearly not doing it properly - I would be hoping for back in 5 hours at a minimum - back in 5 days would be MUCH better.....

With some really good acid you could make it years...

mark - avoiding writing a very boring report.

Re:service agreements? (1)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364691)

It is also not possible for a minor to enter into a legally binding contract without their parents. So when I was under 18, and I installed Doom, either I legally could not install it because I had to enter a contract to do so, or the contract that I entered into is rendered Null and Void.
Perhaps this could be a way around pesky EULA's, just give you son/daughter the install disk, then leave the room. Come back later to find that the software has been installed, and that is was done by someone who the EULA wouldn't be able to legally bond to it, and since you didn't click 'yes' then it wouldn't apply to you too...

Agreements (2, Interesting)

itsnotme (20905) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364606)

Heck.. I like having the GPL or the PGPL and whatnot since its a standarized agreement and once you've read it once you dont really have to read it again because its the same agreement over again so its easier to think about whether you want to use it or not.. but the terms of service agreeements and whatnot are different that there's really not a standard.. and yet thats probably why almost nobody reads 'em.. here's a direct quote from the article:

Although people regularly click on such agreements, few scroll through the verbiage. In a survey last month of 155 adults by Richardson, Texas-based consulting firm Privacy Council, 76 percent of respondents said they were "concerned" about having their privacy violated on the Internet. Only 22 percent admitted to reading privacy policies. Among respondents ages 18 to 25--a core constituency for file-swapping software--only 8 percent read the policy.


Only 22% admitted to reading it! gee I wonder why.. that 10 page terms of use policy in windows 2000 was so frickng long and complicated that once you get past the 2nd page you just hit the pg-down button and hit the F8 to confirm afterwards after taking advil to try to forget that you even read it in the first place!

Maybe they should do what newspapers do and dumb it down a bit so that it'd be shorter and a easier read then more people would be better informed..

Re:Agreements (1)

dryueh (531302) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364639)

Maybe they should do what newspapers do and dumb it down a bit so that it'd be shorter and a easier read then more people would be better informed..

Yeah! With big colorful pictures! Go USA Today!
...wait...The Wall Street Journal has color too?

I wish the M$ service agreement was dictated to you entirely by that charming little paperclip thing...then I'm sure everything would be crystal clear.

Re:Agreements (2)

itsnotme (20905) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364663)

I wish the M$ service agreement was dictated to you entirely by that charming little paperclip thing...then I'm sure everything would be crystal clear.


No.. there would be a rise in the suicide rate after people realized they couldnt get hte damn paperclip to shut up while installing

Don't blame being fucking lazy (-1, Flamebait)

Profane Motherfucker (564659) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364607)

Look, that bitch could be fucking 180,000 words. If you don't read it, don't bitch. The obvious goal of the worthless fucking hack reporter was to imply that some poor old hag is somehow incapable of reading 2,600 fucking words. Well fuck that.

If you didn't read it, then you have precious fucking little excuse. I read all my shit that I sign for a specific reason: I don't want to get assraped by some fucking sneaky little clause. I suggest that anyone who isn't stupid fucking trailer trash do the same.

Nextime some worthless group of bungling shithacks violates the GNU license, are we going to piss and moan about how the license is harder to understand than the IRS?

You fucking hypocrites cockchuggers. It's ok not to read the license if we don't like something, and compare it to the law (which is SO complicated -- yeah, right. Get your GED you stupid slacker) then it's ok to not follow it. But when its our precious GNU license, we put the fucking hounds on them.

Re:Don't blame being fucking lazy (-1)

trollercoaster (250101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364702)


ha ha. some dickhead modded you down. that's one mod point that won't be used to mod up a "m$ sux0rs, linux r0x0rs" post.

nice work.

Not Surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364609)

I think most of us who use Kazaa or Morpheus have known this for quite sometime already ..

Those Poor Normal Users (3, Flamebait)

inKubus (199753) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364615)

I am glad that I do home computer consulting for a living. There are so many idiots out there who just install whatever software they find without knowing the facts. And I'm glad that most of the facts are only availible on obscure sites until most people have already been hurt. I LOVE AMERICA. I am glad that companies to stupid stuff like this to hurt consumer's PCs. Somebody has to fix the damage, therefore it translates into MONEY for me ($75/hour).

I am no troll. This is the truth. It's not very nice, but look at how much a body shop charges. Or a plumber. People don't want to be protected. They do not want knowledge. They want to make mistakes, and they want to pay to have them fixed.

God Bless America.
Cheers.

Re:Those Poor Normal Users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364735)

You've posted this twice, you redundant bastard. Wish I had mod points.

Re:Those Poor Normal Users (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364743)

"I am glad that companies to stupid stuff like this to hurt consumer's PCs. Somebody has to fix the damage, therefore it translates into MONEY for me ($75/hour)."

I hear you, man. I am a student and pay for my textbooks this way.

Yes Virginia (1)

headchimp (524692) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364616)

There is spyware on your computer...

...Just as bad as those stupid popup ads trying to force a Gator install

Kazaa Lite (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364617)

Kazaa Lite is without spyware:
http://www.kazaalite.com [kazaalite.com]

It replaces one of the spyware DLLs Kazaa requires with a do-nothing version.

Dan East

It's been going on for ages (2, Interesting)

wackybrit (321117) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364618)

I don't see the big deal here. Software tries to get onto your computer all the time. What about Macromedia Flash? That'll install within the browser. Or how about those lame Comet Cursors? Ditto. Do I want either? No.

It happens in the real world too. When you buy something at Circuit City, they'll ask you if you want this 'cover plan' or that 'insurance' blah blah.. and after standing in a lot of lines, I've noticed that people generally agree to these things without understanding what they are!

Once I stook behind a guy who agreed to everything, signed all the papers, and then the sales guy said.. okay, that's an extra $45 please. The customer didn't realize what was going on and said 'No thanks' and left.. after holding everyone up in the line for 5 minutes filling all the forms out!

So I don't really see a problem here. It's a form of idiot tax. It's harder to avoid all of the pitfalls today, but hey.. you gotta remain vigilent at all times.

Re:It's been going on for ages (2)

inKubus (199753) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364709)

Thank god someone agrees with me. Honestly, why should I waste my time looking after stupid consumers when I could be making money off them?

*I* know how to protect my computer. The last thing *I* need is more laws telling me what I can and can't do. That just makes more jobs for lawyers. I'd rather the money goes into my home computer consulting pocket. :)

Re:It's been going on for ages (1)

drewcifer1 (239331) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364732)

lol. That's a great way to look at it. Idiot's make you money. Wow, you would be out of business if schools would actually educate people.

Re:It's been going on for ages (1)

xarfel (250123) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364731)

Flash is hardly comparable to making your system a node in a distributed environment and using your precious resources. Most people are lacking resources anyway. Throw ads and pop-ups in my face all day long, I'll give you that; but using my resources??? hell no!

Re:It's been going on for ages (0)

shine (1502) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364752)

I've noticed that people even brag about getting the service plans. Financially you are better off not getting the plans and just paying for whatever repairs as you go along. Consumer reports says this and I believe it. The plans are offered to make a profit for the provider.

A sucker is born every minute! Who said that?

~S

In other news... (1, Interesting)

ediron2 (246908) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364620)

In related news, the internet is more than AOL and spam is bad. Our human interest story tonight is on how gullible people become when surfing the net and reading email.

Why is it everyone calls us for technical questions but nobody has sense enough to trust us when we hit transitional topics like these. It's like the AMA being ignored on addiction and unsafe sex issues.

Oh, yeah, I remember: because we don't spend any money lobbying, we're inscrutible and we have some rather extreme views.

Has American marketing gone mad ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364623)



is it only American companies that resort to these tactics of marketing or is it a worldwide phenomonon ?

i mean 99% of email spam seems to involve an American company/person and now spyware, is this a cultural problem ?

email WILL become unusable/impractical in 10 years because of spam, is software heading in the same direction ?

whats next ?

Re:Has American marketing gone mad ? (0)

anonymouZ coward (572542) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364648)

I'm sure it's a worldwide phenomena but I think Americans pioneer the technology and the concepts, and it trickles down elsewhere. The problem is that Americans lack tact. We are consumed with this concept of "democracy" and we have been force-fed the idea that unrestricted "capitalism" is a synonym for "democracy". Therefore the idea that we would eliminate tasteless, overwhelming, privacy violating marketing is considered by many to be undemocratic.

That's why we have Kazaa Lite! (3, Redundant)

arnoroefs2000 (122990) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364624)


Get it here [kazaalite.tk] or here [kazaalite.com]

---

Extra Features compared to original KaZaA
- No Adware
- No Spyware
- No banners
- No bitratelimit for mp3 files
- No irritating websites loaded into KaZaA
- No crappy BDE Viewer
- No f*cking Bonzi Buddy
- Set up multiple users with the included PseudoTrack tool

Re:That's why we have Kazaa Lite! (1)

skilef (525335) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364677)

- No banners

Can't say that for the site. Guess I'm overreacting.. :)

Re:That's why we have Kazaa Lite! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364706)

> Extra Features compared to original KaZaA
> - No Adware
> ...

Just two popup-ads on every single page. Thank-you-but-no-thank-you.

Re:That's why we have Kazaa Lite! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364747)

What's a popup?

What ever happened to file sharing? (4, Interesting)

angst7 (62954) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364626)

I've been using these file sharing programs for severel years now, beginning with Gnutella several years ago. Napster never held much appeal for me, and I've tried Audio Galaxy and KaZaa, and liked both for different reasons.

The problem with this embedded spyware is that is ultimately serves the RIAA's purpose of shutting these networks down. I simply refuse to use any variant of KaZaa or other file sharing software until I know someone who has installed it, used it for some time, and has had no instance of spy/piggy back ware.

Ultimately I see this nonsense and the flood of bad press which will inevitably surround it making people wary of the use of any such software (as I am now).

Pity really.

---
Jedimom.com [jedimom.com] , the not-so-fresh feeling.

An app to remove most spyware (5, Informative)

SweenyTod (47651) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364627)

It's called AdAware, and it seems capable of nuking most nasty little apps installed by websites and applications like Kazza. Grab it here from Lavesoft USA [lavasoftusa.com] and be very afraid at how many spyware components it finds!

You should also download their reference file update utility too. This lets you keep up to date with the latest spyware programs out there.

Re:An app to remove most spyware (1)

headchimp (524692) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364694)

Hmm...noticed that trying to download Adaware subjected me to even more ads and other popup annoyances...catch-22 I suppose

Re:An app to remove most spyware (1)

xarfel (250123) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364707)

I use this and it does a pretty good job, keeps you informed if nothing else.

nice, simple lil' app

Re:An app to remove most spyware (-1)

First_In_Hell (549585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364733)

I totally agree. I always considered myself savy when it came to weeding out all of the spyware programs that the "marketing" scumbags try to install. However, based on an article in Computer Shopper, I installed the program you speak of "Ad-Aware". After doing a scan, I was shocked to find something to the tune of 25+ spyware components on my PC, all embedded in my registry. I feel that is a complete invasion of my privacy and people should not be allowed to get away with it.

It is like someone coming into my house and placing a camera on my wall to see my dumping habitsin the morning.

if you have Windows, you owe it to yourself to download this. We need to get rid of this garbage so these internet advertising scumbags can go back where they came from.

Is all Internet advertising bad? I don't think so, catalog companies who put banners advertising good prices is a good thing (TigerDirect). Also I get newsletters in e-mail from that same company showing me current sales. And you know what? I do click on them. I do it because I do not fell like I am being maliciously forced into it by some "marketing" guy. They should really give it up, if Internet advertising is so dead, then this crap is not going to help.

Scumbags.

-mod me up, I need the Karma!

My favorite quote from the article: (5, Funny)

zbuffered (125292) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364629)

Much as the avalanche of spam in the 1990s prompted action from legislators and regulators

Yeah, I'm glad we got that taken care of back in the 90s...

Eugh (1)

The Mainframe (573877) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364631)

I find it positively disgusting that these companies are installing this level of spyware on users machines. I mean, collecting demographics is one thing (obviously a massive invasion of privacy, but not really destructive) but stealing CPU cycles and hard drive space? I am appalled. Have these people no decency? My computer is my castle.. If I found out one day that a piece of software I'd just installed was allowing someone else to take control of my computer, I'd lose it.
I don't know what needs to be done about this, but somehow these software companies need to be shown that this is not OK. Now that people are finding out, there should be a lot of bad sentiment around, and so hopefully these types of invasions will decrease in number.

Just enlightened my neighboor (5, Interesting)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364634)

He got a new computer, got all excited about Morpheus and then they switched. Since then he hasn't been able to get anything to start downloading. So he was telling me he was going to install this Kaaza thing and try it, and asked me if I'd heard of it.

As I explained some of the functionality surplus to him, you could see his jaw just dropping and dropping.

But I betcha he'll still install it - cause he loves the CD burner he has and how easy it is to burn MP3's-> CDDA.

don't care about the 'hidden network'.... (3, Interesting)

reaper20 (23396) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364636)

I care that this bde stuff is bringing w2k/xp machines down to a grinding halt in fugly ways.

Ad-aware is getting used more and more in my toolkit. I sure wish Norton/Macafee/whoever would just go ahead and add crap like this into their AV software. This garbage is a "virus" in my book.

Re:don't care about the 'hidden network'.... (2)

TedCheshireAcad (311748) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364710)

Ad-aware is getting used more and more in my toolkit.
Amen to that, I run Ad-Aware once a week on the lab I administer, spyware bogs down those PC's like nothing else.

Re:don't care about the 'hidden network'.... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364716)

Your book doesn't have very good definition. cp cp tmp is a virus too.

Re:don't care about the 'hidden network'.... (2)

dzym (544085) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364739)

Probably not as bad as new.net, mind you... I just gave a deep discount to a co-worker for cleaning her computer up. The amount of nastiness left on that computer before she brought it to me prevented an upgrade to IE6 and broke the start-up process, leaving it in a totally unusable state. And she had to get files on the machine back, no backups to restore from. So I had to go the long way around and clean it all up manually. Ugh. new.net, bde, 4 different instances of gator, the list goes on and on and on. On the other hand I also trained her to use ad-aware. So hopefully that won't be a recurring issue.

Tax forms.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364643)

Come on.. IRS tax forms aren't that bad..
Sure a lot of people have problems with them:
a lot of people can't read bus time tables either.

I honestly don't think the IRS are out to make things as difficult as possible..

Now EULA:s on the other hand, are written in pure, unadulterated legalese,
by lawyers for lawyers.
You can't really expect your average Joe to read or fully understand those things..

Hard to read? (1)

vlag (552656) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364647)

I don't care if the EULA is written in hieroglyphics, there is nothing harder to read than those tax guides. Even the simple ones that make it AOL-easy. I say that people who don't even glance over their EULAs are getting their fair due. They're getting a pile of free stuff anyway; so what if some tech company actually tries to turn a profit.

Re:Hard to read? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364720)

>> I don't care if the EULA is written in hieroglyphics, there is nothing harder to read than those tax guides.

Ya know, the fed forms aren't really that bad -- and I file 1040A with many schedules.
I had to file two sets of partial year resident state tax forms this year because I moved. It was so weird, one of the instruction sets was straight forward and explained what was going on. The other was a disaster, consistently using detailed terms without definition -- if there were such a thing as a gce English compiler it would have probably have died with a "confused bailing out".

Why is this so difficult? (5, Interesting)

kvn299 (472563) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364649)

I'm so glad these guys are getting pounded for this. It's pretty amazing how many news outlets picked up on this story. Unfortunately, there are many many more situations like this that are overlooked.

I really don't have a problem with companies adding extra programs into their software. The problem I have is 1) Not being told about it and 2) Not being given the option of opting out or not installing it.

As far as I'm concerned, a license is not an appropriate place to inform the user of third party software coming along for the ride. Software should be very explicit during install exactly what's happening. That way, the user can either not install the program, or if allowed, not install that component. What's so hard about that?

The fact that these companies try to hide this stuff shows they know the systems are a bit shady.

Strangely enough, this happens with big-time commercial software as well. I was pretty p*ssed when Intuit's TurboTax installed Internet Explorer on my laptop without asking. It just told me, "Installing IE 5.5 now" with no cancel button. I had 5.0 installed and it was there for a reason. Oh, well.

Hopefully, awareness of these practices will hurt companies who will entually find it beneficial to be up front with their customers!

Re:Why is this so difficult? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364698)

It just told me, "Installing IE 5.5 now" with no cancel button. I had 5.0 installed and it was there for a reason. Oh, well.

That's why you pay for the Microsoft Tax, so you can get free upgrades.

Re:Why is this so difficult? (1, Flamebait)

inKubus (199753) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364729)

Hey, want a bit of advice? DON'T DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL SOFTWARE FROM THE INTERNET if you are afraid of getting jacked! DUH! The last thing we need is MORE LAWS taking this shit into courts for computer ILLITERATE LAWYERS AND JUDGES decide what PEOPLE WHO ARE SMART ENOUGH TO BE CAUTIOUS WITH THEIR COMPUTERS can and can't get.

If people were smart enough, they would just download open source software, examine the code and compile it themselves. But if you are too LAZY to do that, don't put the blame on some company who's just trying to make a buck or two.

Some people's children. :)

Re:Why is this so difficult? (1)

Geordon (58730) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364738)

Strangely enough, this happens with big-time commercial software as well. I was pretty p*ssed when Intuit's TurboTax installed Internet Explorer on my laptop without asking. It just told me, "Installing IE 5.5 now" with no cancel button. I had 5.0 installed and it was there for a reason. Oh, well.

Uh, if you had payed attention to the install windows, it SAID that TT required some things that 5.5 has. Plain as day, it said that it had to install IE 5.5. You could probably have cancelled at taht point and tried to return the software. Remember, Intuit has a web-based Turbo Tax, as well as the local-install version.

This sounds like a great article. (5, Funny)

n-baxley (103975) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364650)

Unfortunatly, I lost interest and didn't take the time to read all the way through it. I hope there wasn't anything I'm supposed to know in there.

The correct term is THIEFWARE (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364652)

or burglerware if you like. People rightfully don't expect their pc to be tapped, its resources used or otherwise tampered with.

Of course "it's their own fault" but that does not take away the unprecedented lack of morality of the companies involved.

It should be considered virii and nothing else.

One interesting point.... (4, Insightful)

phunhippy (86447) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364657)

How many millions have downloaded this software now?
How come not one person out of these millions noticed that line about tapping your computers unused cycles and wrote to a news site pr here about it?
Why did this come out only when brilliant filed with the SEC?

Surely at least one person must have read the damn eula? Somehow i don't feel to bad for everyone..

A very happy furthernet[furthernet.com] user :)

burn my karma if ya like i don't care i think i have a good point :)

1040-EZ (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364658)

The graph compares it with form 1040-EZ... the one sheet thing that I filled out in elementary school as part of a math class.

We're not exactly talking about a form that I need to bring to my accountant.

There should be a law... (5, Insightful)

CaptainPhong (83963) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364667)

It should be illegal to have complicated and misleading user-agreements in software. Over the course of a day, a consumer might have to agree to several of these, not to mention other contracts, service agreements, etc. they have to sign in their non-computer life. Invariably, these sorts of things are unreadably long and full of Legalese unintelligible to the average Joe. We're bombarded by so many, that it is literally impossible to read and understand them all, let alone send them to our lawyers (as we are "supposed" to do with contracts).

Because of the size, complexity and volume of these things (and the need to usually get past them quickly), I would argue that they amount to coercion (which would invalidate them). The same is true of shrink-wrap software licenses (which you are rarely able to examine until well after you've unwittingly agreed to them). Of course, I doubt a court of law would agree with me. However, I think it would make sense to have a consumer protection law that requires that these sorts of things have a short, concise, easy to read summary at the beginning that gives the user an idea of what they're getting in to (with all the legalese below for completeness). That would prevent companies from creating scumware like this then hiding behind their user-auto-agreements.

Re:There should be a law... (2, Insightful)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364683)

`coercion` to me suggests someone being forced to do something against their will. This is the exact opposite - someone choosing to download some software, then choosing to install it, and choosing to NOT read the contract they are entering into. Its about as far from coercion as you could hope to be.

Unexpected (unintended?) bit of honesty (3, Insightful)

drew_kime (303965) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364671)

"I'm not an extremist," said Robert Regular, vice president of sales and marketing at New York-based digital advertising firm Cydoor. "But all this talk of spyware is the equivalent of elevating one bad seed, and it's having negative consequences on the good software. The public doesn't have time to investigate if it's negative software; they'll just stop downloading ...
I would hate to think we could reach a point that, whenever a dialog box comes up and says, 'Do you want to do this,' bells go off and people become worried." (My emphasis)

Personally, I wish that is exactly what would happen. Popups dialogs and confirmation boxes should only appear when there is something you need to think about. If you're not supposed to think about it, then why are they bothering you with the popup in the first place?

Theses on the Cultural Revolution by Guy Debord (-1)

Commienst (102745) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364672)


1

The traditional goal of aesthetics is to make one feel, in privation and absence, certain past elements of life that through the mediation of art would escape the confusion of appearances, since appearance is what suffers from the reign of time. The degree of aesthetic success is measured by a beauty inseparable from duration, and tending even to lay claim to eternity. The Situationist goal is immediate participation in a passionate abundance of life, through the variation of fleeting moments resolutely arranged. The success of these moments can only be their passing effect. Situationists consider cultural activity, from the standpoint of totality, as an experimental method for constructing daily life, which can be permanently developed with the extension of leisure and the disappearance of the division of labor (beginning with the division of artistic labor).

2

Art can cease to be a report on sensations and become a direct organization of higher sensations. It is a matter of producing ourselves, and not things that enslave us.

3

Mascolo is right in saying ("Le Communisme") that the reduction of the working day by the regime of the dictatorship of the proletariat is "the most certain assurance that it can give of its revolutionary authenticity." Indeed, "if man is a commodity, if he is treated as a thing, if the general relations of men among themselves are the relations of thing to thing, it is because it is possible to buy his time from him." Mascolo, however, is too quick to conclude that "the time of a man freely employed" is always well spent, and that "the purchase of time is the sole evil." There is no freedom in the employment of time without the possession of modern instruments for the construction of daily life. The use of such instruments will mark the leap of a utopian revolutionary art to an experimental revolutionary art.

4

An international association of Situationists can be seen as a union of workers in an advanced sector of culture, or more precisely as a union of all those who claim the right to a task now impeded by social conditions; hence as an attempt at an organization of professional revolutionaries in culture.

5

We are separated in practice from true control over the material powers accumulated by our time. The Communist revolution has not occurred, and we still live within the framework of the decomposition of old cultural superstructures. Henri Lefebvre correctly sees that this contradiction is at the heart of a specifically modern discordance between the progressive individual and the world, and calls the cultural tendency based on this discordance revolutionary-romantic. The defect in LefebvreÕs conception lies in making the simple expression of discordance a sufficient criterion for revolutionary action within the culture. Lefebvre renounces beforehand all experiments toward profound cultural change while remaining satisfied with a content: awareness of the (still too remote) impossible-possible, which can be expressed no matter what form it takes within the framework of decomposition.

6

Those who want to overcome the old established order in all its aspects cannot attach themselves to the disorder of the present, even in the sphere of culture. One must struggle and not go on waiting, in culture as well, for the moving order of the future to make a concrete appearance. It is its possibility, already present in our midst, that devalues all expression in known cultural forms. One must lead all forms of pseudocommunication to their utter destruction, to arrive one day at real and direct communication (in our working hypothesis of higher cultural means: the constructed situation). Victory will be for those who will be able to create disorder without loving it.

7

In the world of cultural decomposition we can test our strength but not employ it. The practical task of overcoming our discordance with the world, i.e., of surmounting the decomposition by some higher constructions, is not romantic. We will be "revolutionary romantics," in LefebvreÕs sense, precisely to the degree of our failure.

jeebus! (4, Insightful)

xarfel (250123) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364685)

This is so ridiculous. Trust is soon to become a thing of the distant past. The last shreds of it are slipping away. Modern cannibalism for the sake of the dollar. So sad.

"Brilliant, whose Altnet peer-to-peer software piqued consumer fears, says it is committed to telling people exactly how their computers will be used via new agreements and pop-up boxes as it loads more software and starts using consumers' computer resources."

If they were so committed to telling people, why the hell didn't they? All of these companies set out to decieve, then lie and manipulate to cover their asses. I can't even imagine the discussions that these people had to plan such an underhanded ploy.

You can't even hum two bars of a song without someone looking for royalties. Do you think these companies intent to pay up when they use your computer to solve a million dollar math problem? hell no! damn the man..haha

Hillarious (4, Funny)

Kenshiro (6045) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364686)

"... I would hate to think we could reach a point that, whenever a dialog box comes up and says, 'Do you want to do this,' bells go off and people become worried." (Robert Regular, vice president of sales and marketing at New York-based digital advertising firm Cydoor)

Oh yeah, wouldn't want that...

Educated idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364687)

Just goes to prove that a degree does not necessarily give one common sense. Read everything before you agree to it. Shrink Wrap / Click-Thru, whatever you want to call it, READ IT FIRST.

TextArc Revelation? (2, Funny)

limekiller4 (451497) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364688)

I'll bet you a nickel that if they run the Kazaa TOS through TextArc [textarc.org] , Bill Gate's face will appear. =)

msconfig (5, Interesting)

The Ape With No Name (213531) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364692)

Part of my job is to configure students machines for use on a dorm network. Very often we get complaints about service ranging from no connectivity to slow performance. Of course the slowness can be directly attributed to P2P apps and their tendency to hog bandwidth, but Gator and its ilk are notorious in our circles as poorly written programs that not only do all the privacy violation, etc that they should be reviled for, they also have the unique ability to mung Winsock on machines running ME, 98 and 2000. The fix requires a young priest and old priest and a silver sword (read: edit the registry and rebuild the TCP/IP stack). So now when I get a machine with Gator, etc. I edit the system startup to shut it down. Invariably the performance of the machine and its network connectivity rebounds. I don't ask permission to do this as we are not removing the program, but simply preventing having the prolematic software do what it does -- start.

We're supposed to trust them (5, Funny)

Skidge (316075) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364697)

"I'm not an extremist," said Robert Regular, vice president of sales and marketing at New York-based digital advertising firm Cydoor. "But all this talk of spyware is the equivalent of elevating one bad seed, and it's having negative consequences on the good software. The public doesn't have time to investigate if it's negative software; they'll just stop downloading...I would hate to think we could reach a point that, whenever a dialog box comes up and says, 'Do you want to do this,' bells go off and people become worried."

So we're supposed to trust them. These spyware folks are just a few bad apples among the wonderful adware crowd. Damn you, Brilliant, you're keeping me from all this good adware software.

IRS v. EULA (1)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364704)

Only two things in life are certain:
death and spyware.

Simulating Sinead (-1)

Commienst (102745) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364711)

On 3 October 1992, the Irish rock singer Sinead O'Connor was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. For her first song, Sinead performed the title track from her most recent album, Am I Not Your Girl? with a full backing band. For her second, she went with "War," a song by Bob Marley that had once been banned for its apparent advocacy of violence. In a very risky move, musically speaking, Sinead performed the song a capella. Dressed all in white, surrounded by candles and (as usual) shaven-headed, she was a riveting sight. With NBC-TV's cameras focused in-tight on her, Sinead ended her "War" by crying for another one to begin. "Fight the real enemy!" she called, and, out of nowhere, produced a copy of a photograph of Pope John Paul II, which she ripped into pieces. There was stunned silence, and then the station went to a commercial.

NBC-TV was inundated by complaints (supposedly 4,484 in all) called in by outraged viewers. The producers of Saturday Night Live said that they didn't think Sinead would be invited back to perform on the show. In the meantime, Sinead herself said nothing about what she'd done or why she'd done it. (Simply changing one of Marley's lines so that it referred to "sexual abuse" instead of "racial injustice," as Sinead had done in mid-song, hadn't been sufficient explanation and so the press was filled with lurid denunciations of her.) When she returned to the United States on 16 October 1992 to perform at a birthday concert for Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden in New York, Sinead was greeted by a weird mixture of cheers and boos. Despite the severely divided response to her presence, she once again sang an a cappella version of "War." Once she was done, she staggered offstage, where she was comforted by Kris Kristofferson. Shortly thereafter, Sinead O'Connor permanently retired from the "pop" entertainment industry.

Eventually, Sinead O'Connor made her peace with the Pope. On 22 September 1997, in an interview with the Italian weekly newspaper Vita, she asked the Holy Father to forgive her. She claimed that her attack on the photo had been "a ridiculous act, the gesture of a girl rebel," which she did "because I was in rebellion against the faith, but I was still within the faith." Quoting St. Augustine, she went on to add, "Anger is the first step towards courage." Another courageous step Sinead took in the late 1990s was to join the congregation of the controversial Irish Bishop Michael Cox, who eventually ordained Sinead as a priest. Lacking a sense of humor, the Vatican has refused to recognize Sinead's membership in the priesthood, which the Pope considers "bizarre." This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but the Pope is right: Sinead's story is a bizarre one.

And NBC? In the informative and relatively even-handed biography of the singer that airs on VH1 as part of the cable TV station's on-going "Behind the Music" series, it's said that, "even to this day," NBC refuses to allow the photo-ripping scene to be re-broadcast by anyone. VH1 itself had to settle with a blurry shot of Sinead in mid-rip that was published by one of New York's tabloid newspapers. You can catch a glimpse, but you can't actually see what Sinead did that night in 1992: you can only hear about it, thanks to the Vatican's clout and NBC's cowardice.

This would seem a good point to talk about censorship. But it isn't -- not yet.

The Comedy Channel shows back episodes of Saturday Night Live several times a day. In early August 2001, I happened to see the episode in which Sinead O'Connor is the musical guest. Everything goes as it should -- dressed all in white, Sinead performs "War" a capella as her second number -- until the end of the song. There is no war cry, no identification of "the real enemy." Sinead doesn't hold up a picture of the Pope, but a picture of a cute little black boy, instead. And then the song is over, and Sinead stands, smiling, holding the picture behind her back, as the crowd applauds and cheers.

It took a while for it to sink in that NBC hadn't simply blacked out or removed the photo-ripping scene. Instead, NBC had gone beyond mere censorship and either had replaced the Pope-ripping sequence with another one (the song as it was performed in rehearsal?) or had digitally altered the broadcast so that there was apparently nothing in "the original" to black out or remove in the first place. Why would anyone want to block or cut out Sinead's impassioned plea for the children? In times of war, don't we tend to forget about the children, especially the cute little black ones? Nice bullshit, but it wasn't Sinead's.

Like the authors of textbooks on Soviet history, who had to keep changing the past so that it would conform with Stalin's latest purges, NBC has created its own Sinead O'Connor and is now passing her off as the original.

Pasted fromNotBored [notbored.org]

It could be a valid business model... (5, Insightful)

Lobsang (255003) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364717)

This *could* be a valid business model. Think about it: Company X offers services for free in exchange for a few of your CPU cycles. The same client could be used for both distributed processing and, say, file downloads. Company X makes money by selling CPU power to third parties (your spare cycles) and you, the user, enjoy free service.

Unfortunately, KaZaa wants to do it *without* telling you. That's just unacceptable...

Such a small box too (1)

UCRowerG (523510) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364727)

Apart from the legalese and complicated language, which I agree is difficult for most people to understand, I think it's really annoying that they put such a large amount of text into that tiny little window.... like they expect most users to simply give up scrolling and just click the "Agree/Yes/Ok/Screw Me" button.

What do you expect when its free? (1)

frankrachel (224667) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364728)

Everyone wants the software and the service to be free, but a company isn't going to stay in business that way.. so they partner with other companies who pay them money to attach spyware and adware and whatever-else-ware.

If its free and from a commercial entity, you have to expect stuff like this. Free does not translate to a sound business model..

General Public sux (-1)

trollercoaster (250101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364745)


They were better in The (English) Beat.

Too much backlash (2)

asv108 (141455) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364746)

KaZaA should of predicted the amount of backlash it would face when adding distributed spyware to it's installer. Consumers are willing to tolerate some level of spyware, as we have seen with the variety of P2P apps with "bundled apps", but KaZaA has not just stepped over the line, they flew over it. Now look at where they are at, the name KaZaA is synonymous with spyware, but more importantly KaZaA has been removed from download.com [slashdot.org] , I can't think of a worst fate for a windows app.

Most interesting (1)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364749)

I found the teeney portion of the article that said,"... broader consumer notice and privacy concerns are showing up in a compromise Internet privacy legislation soon to be introduced by Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, D-S.C."

Senator Hollings is at it again with a new bill [latimes.com] . What kind of buddy-buddy shit is he tring to pull this time? First the Consumer Broadband Promotion BS, and now he's our pal with 'The Privacy Act for Kazaa Users'? Sure. What kind of consitutional f-over will this be?

Try looking at Minnesota, Fritz. They want an opt-in approach...

Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3364753)

Ok guys, although this might sound a bit narrowminded to some, but I bet 95% of the people who downloaded kaaza, was for downloading copyrighted stuff. So it's kind of ironic wouldn't you think that everyone jumps up and down about spyware, and how it's wrong. Two wrongs don't make a right, but please people, keep it real. At the end, I'm just curious what grany at age 65 was downloading from kaaza?

How to install software... (5, Insightful)

smagruder (207953) | more than 12 years ago | (#3364754)

  1. While installing software, don't bother with reading the EULA (unless that gives you kicks, or you're required to), but run the installation as you normally would, making sure that whenever you have the option to *not* install adware or spyware, take it.
  2. Scan your system with Ad-aware [lavasoft.de] or other comparable software. Note: I don't work for Lavasoft.
  3. If the previously installed software still works, Great! If not, uninstall it.
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