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Acceptable Losses
March 16th 2003, 14:32 CET by Jibble

Black and White tried it with their hit-and-miss weather system.  Now we see more and more prominence of Spyware in almost everything we download.  Even the latest version of TurboTax wreaks all kinds of havoc on your machine.  In a world where Spyware is as hated as popup ads, will the process of gathering user information ever be the same as when it was better protected?  Will those few who only use people's information to provide better demographics to create better products become extinct?
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#1 by Sgt Hulka
2003-03-16 14:33:17
Cool.  My vote put it in.  So I'm here with a FIRSTIES!

The Best Worst Music you've evar herd!
#2 by bago
2003-03-16 14:34:27
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
So the safeway club card theory of information exchange?

The seeming unanimity among poets makes them look suspiciously like a herd of independent minds.
#3 by Greg
2003-03-16 14:34:54
Spyware sucks. EOD. Anyone care for a hijack?

blah blah bleh
#4 by Hugin
2003-03-16 15:12:16
lmccain@nber.org
I have absolutely no problem with an application that monitors something or other on my machine and sends that information somewhere, as long as it meets three conditions:

One:  The installer for the program tells me it's doing this in plain language not buried at the bottom of the EULA.

Two:  The program installs one copy of itself.  One.  And it goes into a sane place, doesn't bury itself under an unrecognizable name in a weird or hidden directory.
 
Three:  The program that does this is put into my add-remove tray and actually uninstalls when I tell it to.

Four:  The program, if it loads at startup, has an easily found toggle that actually works for it not to do that if I choose.

Five: If the information the program takes is sold to a third party, I want to be informed of this, and again I don't want this info buried at the bottom of the EULA. In fact, the website run by the company that makes it should be required by law to post what third party entities the info is sold to.

In short, I want to know what it does, I want to know where it is, I want to be able to turn it on or off (if it's bundled with an application that won't work without it, fine), I want to be able to really uninstall it, I don't want it hiding in my machine and colonizing me like a virus, and I don't want to be surprised by the spam when it comes rolling in.
#5 by Hugin
2003-03-16 15:12:43
lmccain@nber.org
Okay, yeah, I added conditions at the last minute.
#6 by Sgt Hulka
2003-03-16 15:26:00
I have my own conditions

Following is a breakdown of the six demands. They must be met within days.

These are: - Spyware must make a public statement, to be posted at PlanetCrap, admitting it has weapons of mass destruction and will give them up; - Allow 30 Spyware programmers to be interviewed outside their visual studio with their families in tow; - Surrender stocks of virii and other agents which the Software Information Industry Association inspectors said they had in 1998, or produce documents to demonstrate what happened to them; - Pledge to destroy banned DLLs; - Account for unmanned activeX controls - Give a commitment to give up all Safedisk Copy Protection schemes for destruction.

Then, and only then will I be happy.

The Best Worst Music you've evar herd!
#7 by The_Joker
2003-03-16 16:14:28
http://www.jackinworld.com
I agree with Hulka, except for the fact that I'm not going to be really happy even if they comply to all 6 demands, and will insist they don't, in fact, comply.

Joker, Ph.D. Procedural Assholian Behaviour, Pedophilosopher
- All your ass are belong to my wang Jafd. Prepare to are penetration.
"I fart in THX." - Sgt_Hulka

PENETRATOR: Rise of the Wang Cuming March 19 (Wang Wednesday)
#8 by MCorleone
2003-03-16 16:23:34
I say just drop some daisy-cutters on the spyware and get it over with.

Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.
#9 by Ashiran
2003-03-16 16:24:43
Drop some daisy-cutters on the people who think spyware is great.

"Not wearing pants and nobody knows but you."
#10 by Gunp01nt
2003-03-16 16:43:13
supersimon33@hotmail.com
Jibble:
In a world where Spyware is as hated as popup ads, will the process of gathering user information ever be the same as when it was better protected?  Will those few who only use people's information to provide better demographics to create better products become extinct?


to answer that question, I think you should look at the root of the problem. Why do software developers include spyware in their programs?

Is it to sell the information gathered to third party companies, to be used for marketing purposes? possibly. Spyware can gather huge amounts of info from a whole lot of people, which makes it easier, cheaper and faster than a telemarketing- or street survey campaign. but the information that spyware produces can be highly doubted on its usefulness and credibility: it can only show information it can access, and that is probably too little for anybody to draw viable conclusions on the interests of a certain target audience.

Could it be to gather information for improvement of service? that would be a credible explanation. If software developers would ever actually care for that kind of user input (it is by the way fairly understandable if they ignore 99% of all user feedback). Such a service could also just be there for cosmetic purposes, and serve as a way to stop people from complaining, or give them the false idea that their input is actually valued.

But from most spyware, I get the feeling that it's there not because the developer has a purpose for it, but just because they can. Like the topic says, almost everything's riddled with spyware, now. And such programs are really easy to make. It would take less than five minutes to add a function to a program that reads out a bunch of registry keys and sends them to a certain server, at regular intervals.

Because I fail to see what good it could be for anyone to, for example, count how many people have Windows XP installed, when you can look at sales figures for an equally representative count. What could the use be of tracking how many times people visit certain sites, when you can derive usage statistics through several other means?

Yo mama's so fat, all the restaurants in town have signs that says: "Maximum Occupancy: 240 Patrons OR Yo Mama"
#11 by Gunp01nt
2003-03-16 16:44:58
supersimon33@hotmail.com
to clarify:
not because the developer has a purpose for it, but just because they can

...put spyware in there.

Yo mama's so fat, all the restaurants in town have signs that says: "Maximum Occupancy: 240 Patrons OR Yo Mama"
#12 by Sgt Hulka
2003-03-16 16:45:32
If they have a credible reason to install it, then they shouldn't have to hide the fact that they are putting it onto your system.

Without your knowledge makes me tend to think they have dubious reasons for installing, otherwise they'd come right out and tell you.

Thieves don't call ahead before the burglarize your home.

I'm 36 years old, and I STILL sit at the little people table for Thanksgiving!
#13 by haplo
2003-03-16 17:50:22
Because I fail to see what good it could be for anyone to, for example, count how many people have Windows XP installed, when you can look at sales figures for an equally representative count.



But what about all the warez copies out there?

<@jafd> Anyway, Darth, your name is stupid. sry.
<@Ashiran> So no more darthnugget?
<@haplo> darthnugget has left the building
#14 by LPMiller
2003-03-16 17:52:21
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
Having worked marketing, I think they do believe it's a legit way of gathering info. It's just the kind of think marketing people would think up. Information has become God to them; opinion polls, test groups, data mining, etc. And yet, bad products still get released on the market. Go figure.

But what the real problem with spyware is, it can be fooled, tricked, defeated, blocked, and is really useless as an information tool. And it's hated with a passion, it's buggy, it causes harm, but we seem to be, since the fall of the dot.coms, in an anything goes environment for businesses, just so long as money is coming in.

I believe I can fly......urk.
#15 by LPMiller
2003-03-16 17:53:20
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
But what about all the warez copies out there?


Even pirates fill out surveys.

I believe I can fly......urk.
#16 by Gunp01nt
2003-03-16 18:12:20
supersimon33@hotmail.com
lpmiller:
It's just the kind of think marketing people would think up. Information has become God to them; opinion polls, test groups, data mining, etc. And yet, bad products still get released on the market. Go figure.


and that kind of information is also really easy to obtain and requires little work, so the temptation of acquiring some spywared-info instead of actually doing field work is of course a lot higher.

But when companies acquire spyware-gathered info, and use that to determine their strategy and product definitions, aren't they basically digging their own grave? I'd imagine a lot of those business would go out of business if they rely on spyware-info too much, so that ought to put a stop to this practice, shouldn't it?

Yo mama's so fat, all the restaurants in town have signs that says: "Maximum Occupancy: 240 Patrons OR Yo Mama"
#17 by nothing
2003-03-16 18:42:38
What if the "spyware" didn't send the information?

Like what if you bought some game, and the game checked your hard drive and saw that Quake 1 was installed, and so somewhere in the game it makes some funny comment about Shamblers.  Or something.  Would this be an acceptable way to kind of personalize your gameplay experience?  A game made with a bit of humor, like NOLF, could really make me laugh with something like this.

The world makes me go tharn
#18 by Ergo
2003-03-16 18:46:24
Haplo--

Best avatar EVAR.

"Folks, you can't walk into a bar holding a porcupine, set it on fire and expect to make liquorice!" --Dana Carvey as Ross Perot

DVDs
#19 by Squeaky
2003-03-16 18:47:34
You said I had the best avatar ever... *sniff* *sob, bluh*

Now you're up shits creek with a turd for a paddle
DVDs
#20 by Squeaky
2003-03-16 18:48:26
Like what if you bought some game, and the game checked your hard drive and saw that Quake 1 was installed, and so somewhere in the game it makes some funny comment about Shamblers.  Or something.  Would this be an acceptable way to kind of personalize your gameplay experience?  A game made with a bit of humor, like NOLF, could really make me laugh with something like this.

no.

Now you're up shits creek with a turd for a paddle
DVDs
#21 by Ergo
2003-03-16 18:48:36
Next to yours of course, Squeaky.

I'm such a whore.

"Folks, you can't walk into a bar holding a porcupine, set it on fire and expect to make liquorice!" --Dana Carvey as Ross Perot

DVDs
#22 by haplo
2003-03-16 18:55:02
Haplo--

Best avatar EVAR.


"leave everything to me!"

<@jafd> Anyway, Darth, your name is stupid. sry.
<@Ashiran> So no more darthnugget?
<@haplo> darthnugget has left the building
#23 by haplo
2003-03-16 18:56:00
nothing:

That would indeed be pretty damn funny.

<@jafd> Anyway, Darth, your name is stupid. sry.
<@Ashiran> So no more darthnugget?
<@haplo> darthnugget has left the building
#24 by Warren Marshall
2003-03-16 19:14:59
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
no.

Why not?  How does that differ from Psycho Mantis looking at your memory card in MGS and commenting on your style of play?

What?
#25 by bago
2003-03-16 19:15:15
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
Collection of usability data, how users use the UI to activate certain functions...

The seeming unanimity among poets makes them look suspiciously like a herd of independent minds.
#26 by Eric T. Cheng
2003-03-16 19:18:44
erictcheng@hotmail.com
Like what if you bought some game, and the game checked your hard drive and saw that Quake 1 was installed, and so somewhere in the game it makes some funny comment about Shamblers.  Or something.  Would this be an acceptable way to kind of personalize your gameplay experience?  A game made with a bit of humor, like NOLF, could really make me laugh with something like this.


Back when Sir-tech was still publishing games, it published a POS game called, Virus: The Game, which scanned the content of your harddrive and looked for images to be used as textures in the game and the file directories were used as "mazes."

Kilt Wearing Pixel Pushing Monkey Boy
IMDB Entry
DVD Collection
#27 by Whisp
2003-03-16 19:19:54
Only if they are explicitly told this will occur, and are given a chance to opt-in, bago.

Googlism: whisp is de expert in zwerkbal
#28 by Eric T. Cheng
2003-03-16 19:21:36
erictcheng@hotmail.com
Why not?  How does that differ from Psycho Mantis looking at your memory card in MGS and commenting on your style of play?


Because Metal Gear Solid sucks.

Kilt Wearing Pixel Pushing Monkey Boy
IMDB Entry
DVD Collection
#29 by Bailey
2003-03-16 19:24:06
no.

Reinforcing your no, stressing it with propaganda leaflets strewn from passing planes, emphasizing it with grassroots movements.

"Oh man, this game looked on my hard drive, saw all the porn, and now it won't stop making jokes about fisting when I'm trying to play! HILARIOUS!"

I, Complainicus
#30 by nothing
2003-03-16 19:25:35
no.


Ok, maybe not that exact example.  But what if a game collected data for it's own use instead of sending it away to email lists?  Is it the collecting of the data that pisses people off, or the misuse?

The world makes me go tharn
#31 by Charles
2003-03-16 19:33:13
www.bluh.org
Why not?  How does that differ from Psycho Mantis looking at your memory card in MGS and commenting on your style of play?


"OHHHHH....  I see you REALLY LIKE CASTLEVANIA!"

FIGHTING FOR PEACE IS LIKE POSTING ON PLANETCRAP FOR INTELLIGENCE!  --morn
#32 by MCorleone
2003-03-16 19:35:29
HOW ABOUT A GAME OF GALAGA?

Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.
#33 by Warren Marshall
2003-03-16 19:58:37
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Because Metal Gear Solid sucks.

What?

What?
#34 by Eric T. Cheng
2003-03-16 20:00:01
erictcheng@hotmail.com
Because.

Kilt Wearing Pixel Pushing Monkey Boy
IMDB Entry
DVD Collection
#35 by None-1a
2003-03-16 20:01:43
Hugin To add one more thing to your demands. I should have the ability to easily see what information is being collected and how that information is being sent. With out that no matter how responsible the collection is being done it will continue to be the big bag boogie man of software.

I've sent hours running down why Download Accelerator Pro was spy-ware before only to find out all it did was use IE to display the ads in the program. It still shows up as spy-ware in some cleaning programs, the recently linked spybot for example (who's description of the program says nothing about why it gets listed).
#36 by Sgt Hulka
2003-03-16 20:01:49
Fine. Be that way.

I'm 36 years old, and I STILL sit at the little people table for Thanksgiving!
#37 by Ashiran
2003-03-16 20:13:12
"Oh man, this game looked on my hard drive, saw all the porn, and now it won't stop making jokes about fisting when I'm trying to play! HILARIOUS!"

I would find that amusing.

"Not wearing pants and nobody knows but you."
#38 by "Anonymous"
2003-03-16 20:28:16
Bailey needs an "Assassin-ware"
#39 by Dethstryk
2003-03-16 20:31:26
jemartin@tcainternet.com
Spyware works, period. I don't think all of these developers would be using it if it didn't. Now, I'm not saying the information is some great thing they are getting, but they may believe it to be.

For every one PlanetCrapper who knows how to get rid of spyware, there are a thousand Joe Compaqs who don't even know what it is. They are the targets--not us.

"And I'm saying without a relationship with God and those strong convictions HE put in me I wouldn't be a 42 year old who hasn't had sex with anyone today."
#40 by Sgt Hulka
2003-03-16 20:33:32
Oh bullshit Dethstryk.  We all know it.  You know it deep inside.  You are the target, and no secret society will ever convince us otherwise.


target.

you are



the


be done with it.










whatever.  I hate being so.. well.. this...

I'm 36 years old, and I STILL sit at the little people table for Thanksgiving!
#41 by haplo
2003-03-16 20:35:30
HOW ABOUT A GAME OF GALAGA?


How about a game of Food Fight instead.

<@jafd> Anyway, Darth, your name is stupid. sry.
<@Ashiran> So no more darthnugget?
<@haplo> darthnugget has left the building
#42 by Gunp01nt
2003-03-16 20:40:17
supersimon33@hotmail.com
Deth:
Spyware works, period. I don't think all of these developers would be using it if it didn't. Now, I'm not saying the information is some great thing they are getting, but they may believe it to be.


By that reasoning, spam should work as well. and the real profitability of spam remains to be heavily questioned. But if it doesn't work, why does the load of spam increase?

Yo mama's so fat, all the restaurants in town have signs that says: "Maximum Occupancy: 240 Patrons OR Yo Mama"
#43 by Whisp
2003-03-16 20:42:49
From everything I've read, the real money in spam is in selling your email lists back and forth.  Then again, when you send out millions of ads at a time for next to nothing, even a 0.01% return rate will get you to the breakeven point pretty quick.

Googlism: whisp is de expert in zwerkbal
#44 by Dethstryk
2003-03-16 20:57:26
jemartin@tcainternet.com
Whisp beat me to it, Gunny.

"And I'm saying without a relationship with God and those strong convictions HE put in me I wouldn't be a 42 year old who hasn't had sex with anyone today."
#45 by Marsh Davies
2003-03-16 21:00:57
www.verbalchilli.com
Is Jibble the new m0nty?

#46 by JMCDaveL
2003-03-16 21:33:39
If a product believes that spying on me is acceptable then I feel that using the product without paying for it (and removing the spyware) is acceptable. Thieves honor right?

--jmc
#47 by Warren Marshall
2003-03-16 21:34:31
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Justifications, ahoy!

What?
#48 by Bailey
2003-03-16 22:36:17
Spyware works, period. I don't think all of these developers would be using it if it didn't.

I was going to say something in reply to this with regards to spam list selling, only two other people beat me to it, though in a far unfunnier and less snide fashion than I would have used. In short, Whisp and Gunpoint are the death of humor. Also, orphans. Thank you, and goodnight.

I, Complainicus
#49 by MCorleone
2003-03-16 22:40:46
Warren's wearing his sailor outfit.

Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.
#50 by JMCDaveL
2003-03-16 22:52:40
>HELLO, SAILOR

--jmc
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