03/08/2005

FTC on Spyware

This just in from MarketingVox: FTC Tentatively Defines Spyware, Puts Firms on Notice for Deception, Omission:

After convening its Spyware Workshop, the Federal Trade Commission staff put together a
summary report [in PDF format] indicating their own perceptions of spyware, adware and what sorts of behavior may warrant regulation and enforcement. The 62-page document discusses at length the differences between adware and spyware, coming to the conclusion that spyware can be reasonably defined as "software that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge and that may send such information to another entity without the consumer's consent, or that asserts control over a computer without the consumer's knowledge."

This is an important one; since certain software makers have made, shall we say, interesting products, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is now going to regulate. Any excitable comments about government regulation aside (no, the Internet is not the "Wild West" — which had to do with western U.S. states, horses and cows, doncha know, but still was plagued by a certain roguish outlaw element — then again, perhaps the Internet could use a Marshal Wyatt Earp on occasion), here's a word to the wise: you don't want to mess with the FTC.

Well, I too could get excited about the idea of governmental regulation. Then again, I live in a western U.S. state, and there are no bandits at my door. There are benefits to these things, y'know.

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