Kaspersky Labs Wins Precedent-Setting Case Against Adware / Spyware


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07/03/2009



Kaspersky Labs Wins Precedent-Setting Case Against Adware / Spyware

Kevin R. Smith
Co-Editor


Late June brought a victory--and some delightful news--to those looking to put a little sanity into the adware / spyware front.

It should be no surprise to regular readers that we feel that labeling adware as spyware is a logical thing to do. While many adware purveyors take umbrage at the notion that they're spyware, since many don't report the visitor's activities back to a central server, we don't.

 That's splitting hairs as far as I'm concerned. 

Any software that records your actions and, no matter how loosly, takes action now or later based upon what your actions are/were, that software is spying on you--even if it's just serving ads.

What's important about the Kaspersky legal victory is that it deals with the adware/spyware Zango.

According to the Kaspersky press release about Zango, where Kaspersky Lab Americas President, Steve Orenberg says,

'"...we feel it’s our responsibility to warn a user when we classify an application as malicious, thus giving the user the choice to stop the application or let it run.

"We are thrilled with the outcome of this case because it supports the key message of the information security industry ‐‐ consumer protection comes first and that a legal suit cannot force a vendor to classify a potentially malicious program in a certain way."'

What Kaspersky was hoping for, and got, was so-called "Good Samaritan immunity."

 This means Kaspersky's users can be notified if this software is on their computers via the Kaspersky Antivirus spyware detection mechanism (which we rate highly). At that point it's up to the user to keep or block Zango. 

What the court decided, among other things, is that it's your choice.

This is a real victory for anyone--software vendor or consumer--who wants to keep crapware off their computers. Zango isn't a virus to be sure, but it may be spyware, and it's most definitely adware.

If you want Zango, and you're running Kaspersky antivirus software, keep it; if you don't block it. Seems logical to me.

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