July 12, 2005

Spyware Definition Offered for Public Debate

The Anti-Spyware Coalition, a group formed to establish common-ground definitions and best practices in the debate surrounding spyware, released a first draft consensus document today which will be open to public comment for the next thirty days.

The document proposes a broad definition of “spyware and other potentially unwanted technologies” that includes programs that carry out one or more of the following functions:

1. Impair users’ control over “material changes that affect their user experience, privacy, or system.”

2. Impair the “use of their system resources, including what programs are installed on their computers.”

3. Impair the “collection, use, and distribution of their personal or otherwise sensitive information.”

The Pew Internet Project recently found that more than 90% of adult internet users in the U.S. have changed their online behavior in some way to avoid unwanted programs. And 43% of internet users report having spyware or adware on their home computer.

Read the full report here.