Advocacy groups step up battle against spyware

With the Anti-Spyware Coalition’s (ASC) final definitions of spyware in place, public interest advocacy groups have wasted no time in their quest to put malicious spyware distributors out of business.

The ASC is an alliance of public interest groups, technology companies, anti-spyware organizations and software developers dedicated to fighting against unwanted and potentially dangerous spyware.

Two advocacy groups – the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) and the US Centre for Democracy and Technology (CDT) – have been particularly active in this struggle against spyware.

For instance, they have recently asked the Canadian Competition Bureau and the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate the business practices of Montreal-based software distributor Integrated Search Technologies (IST) and many of its business partners.

CIPPIC and CDT claimed the software distributor and its affiliates –, ContextPlus, Meridian Business Ventures, Surf Accuracy and Internet Optimizer – used “deceptive techniques to dupe Internet users into downloading software they did not ask to receive in exchange for little or no benefit.”

The complaint came a week after the ASC released the final, consensus definition of spyware.

The ASC document describes spyware and other potentially unwanted technologies as those that are deployed without appropriate user consent or implemented in ways that impair user control over:

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