The TRUSTe organization, backed up by Internet giants AOL, Yahoo, Computer Associates, Verizon Communications and CNET News released software that will help people avoid adware and spyware.
"With consumers downloading more and more software, it's vital to give people real control over what they will allow on their computers," said Fran Maier, executive director and president of TRUSTe.
"Through our Trusted Download Program we will provide a clear, actionable set of standards and an effective method of monitoring and enforcing those standards. This extends TRUSTe's mission to build trust between individuals and organizations online."
The program is not anti-spyware software, but rather works on a "white list" basis. Application distributors will have to submit their applications and, if the application behaves as it should, it gets on the white list, for a fee.
"Yahoo! is very proud to help create this historic program. For the first time, companies, like Yahoo!, will have a powerful tool to identify software applications that respect consumers and a means to monitor and enforce compliance over time," said Doug Leeds, Yahoo!'s vice president, Product Justice.
"This Program takes the strong desire of leading internet companies to protect their customers and transforms it into a market incentive for software developers to build better products. In the end, the consumer is the real winner."
TRUSTe will not automatically blacklist any kind of block adware and trackware, but rather keep it within reasonable standards. The type of ads to be displayed by adware programs as well as the information tracked is monitored by the organization and kept within legal boundaries.
"TRUSTe's efforts to separate legitimate programs from rogue software will be invaluable to Web advertisers and publishers who care about protecting their brands online," said Jules Polonetsky, vice president, Integrity Assurance for America Online, Inc.
"This program will be a useful, additional level of review to assist with our compliance efforts to ensure Internet users aren't misled into downloading programs that interfere with their online experience."
The question remains why the companies, together with TRUSTe agreed to allow adware and trackware to a certain amount. What exactly makes a good or acceptable amount of adware? Most users will say no adware and no trackware would be a good amount.
Do we really need such a program, with all the anti-spyware and antivirus software out there? Most antivirus programs started to lookup and remove unwanted adware and spyware. Microsoft announced they will release their AntiSpyware program, Windows Defender with its forthcoming Windows Vista. Apparently, there isn't really (an acute?) need for a program that allows only "reviewed" (?) adware.
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