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Adware Maker Appointed To Federal Privacy Panel

CNet is reporting that the company formerly known as Gator (now Claria) has been appointed as a member of the Department of Homeland Security's Privacy Advisory Board. According spyware tracking sites Gator has previously been implicated in "drive-by-downloads" where users had their GAIN application installed without their knowledge. Gator was sued by New York Post, The New York Times, Dow Jones, The Washington Post, L.L. Bean and Extended Stay America for inserting ads for competitors into popup boxes over their site.

In an attempt to cleanup their image Claria now sues for libel anyone who calls their products spyware, since they claim that users opt-in to the installs. A reader tipped me off to the fact that GAIN is a part of the adware supported version of Divx Pro bundle. I'm sure it's in lots of other applications; most of which either won't work if you try to uninstall GAIN or don't mention GAIN is included. Every major spyware removal program identifies GAIN as threat that should be removed, and the ones that include active scanning block installation of GAIN.

All of which begs the only half-joking question; "Was Choicepoint unavailable?"

Update: Federal Computer Week lists the 20 appointees to the Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee.

Just a three months ago researchers discovered that the Claria (Gator) End User License Agreement consumers from using anti-spyware tools. When contacted about the nearly 6,000 word (63 page) EULA D. Reed Freeman, the company official appointed to the privacy panel, would not comment.

If you want to protest D. Reed Freeman's appointment to the Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee here's the contact info:

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 202-772-9848
Fax: 202-772-5036
Interestingly DHS's Chief Privacy Officer, Nuala O'Connor Kelly, previously was part of the legal team charged with cleaning up the privacy issues that nearly sank Internet advertising firm DoubleClick.

Update 2: Another nominee of interest:

Samuel Wright, senior vice president for government relations at Cendant Corporation in Washington, D.C.
Cendant owns computerized reservation systems company Galileo, who just so happens to be at the center of the CAPPS II traveler screening system. Cendant has been caught playing both sides of the privacy fence before...


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Adware Maker Appointed To Federal Privacy Panel:

» JRB Technology linked with Spyware maker appointed to Homeland Security

» ISOU linked with Kevin calls a Spade a Spade...

» basil's blog linked with Thursday Lunch Special:

» Say Anything linked with An Astoundingly Stupid Choice

» Outside The Beltway linked with Spyware Scum Appointed to Homeland Security Board

» Emergent Chaos linked with Choicepoint Roundup (1 March)

Comments (23)

Gain is spyware!... (Below threshold)

Gain is spyware!

Should have gotten Kazaa li... (Below threshold)

Should have gotten Kazaa lite. ITs kazaa without all the extras (its basically a hacked version of kazaa)

Unbelievable!... (Below threshold)


IMO, GAIN is the absolute w... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

IMO, GAIN is the absolute worst of the offenders. They throw up a box that appears to tell the user that you must install the software to visit a site. Needless to say, you get more than you bargained for if you do it.

They don't wreak as much havoc as some of the other pieces of spyware, but they are annoying. Plus, shouldn't it be suspicious that they keep changing their name? I mean, you don't see Microsoft or Oracle changing their names.

I'd say something about fox... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

I'd say something about foxes and henhouses, but I don't feel like getting sued...

Pity Jeffrey Dahmer is dead. Bush could name him to the Food & Drug Administration. Similarly, Hunter Thompson would have fit in nicely at the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

(Hmm... I smell contest here...)


Next you'll be telling me t... (Below threshold)

Next you'll be telling me that Syria and Cuba are on the UN human rights commission.

Maybe I'm too optimistic, b... (Below threshold)

Maybe I'm too optimistic, but one can only hope that maybe this is a case like the movie "Catch Me If You Can" where the FBI ends up hiring the master forger to head up their forgery department.

Of course, I've been gullible in the past. ;-)

Yeah, you're being gullible... (Below threshold)

Yeah, you're being gullible. ;-) Tell you what, when they arrest this guy for privacy invasion and let him serve a few years behind bars then your anaolgy will be more appropos.

For now, they've basically handed a spammer/scammer a huge, authenticated mailing list.

Idi Amen for the Chairman o... (Below threshold)

Idi Amen for the Chairman of The "Food for the Hungry" organization.

As a side note, for those t... (Below threshold)

As a side note, for those that may be thinking KBiel was kidding, think again. The U.S. was voted off the U.N. Human Rights Commission, while Libya, Syria and Sudan were among those given seats in the commission during the past several years.

CNN Archives Article

oops... now it appears I'm comparing the people over at the Department of Homeland Security - to the U.N.

-silly me.

That is every bit as insane... (Below threshold)

That is every bit as insane as putting the UN in charge of the oil-for-food program was. What's next, Teddy Kennedy on the advisory board of MADD?

Assholes. . . . ... (Below threshold)

Assholes. . . .

Amber - well, that's what w... (Below threshold)

Amber - well, that's what we get for actually ADVOCATING for human rights while on the HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL.

It's pathetic, considering that current and past administrations haven't been nearly as outspoken about worldwide human rights abuses as they could be.

In an attempt to cleanup... (Below threshold)

In an attempt to cleanup their image Claria now sues for libel anyone who calls their products spyware...

So the agreed vernacular now is "espionageware", "invasiveware", "trackingware", "misleadingware", "looki-ova-hea-so-we-can-do-oua-bidness-over-thea-ware", or "you-free-loaders-we'll-get-you-ware"?

OK, I can live with that. [Note to self: disassociate terms Claria-spy-ware]

PS - To Claria's 'gators (or sharks, I don't know if you've codified internal slang or declared to the general public your preferred term) - this is called sarcasm and not an open call to reference your company's perceived insidiousness [wink, wink].

Bob, in this crowd you have... (Below threshold)

Bob, in this crowd you have to be a bit more specific with your insults, i.e. name your target!

Umm... Michael Jackson in c... (Below threshold)

Umm... Michael Jackson in charge of Social Services?

Most of my good ones have already been used...

All I know is we spent hour... (Below threshold)

All I know is we spent hours getting rid of this thing back when AdAware was the only thing around. Now with a more educated (but incrementally smaller) public that is aware of this stuff, Claria and their ilk (and obviously their lawyers) can crunch words to shades and yet more shades of grey - is it spyware or adware or as AnonymousDrivel shows, anythingware? I say good for these folks --> who call a spade a spade here. Any which way you call it - pushes me to say NOMB (for Not On My Back) jerks!!!

Cendant has also gotten in ... (Below threshold)

Cendant has also gotten in BIG trouble for cooking their books. I have more of a problem with a VP from their company on the board.

Foxes guarding the hen house.

As an aside, Spybot Search ... (Below threshold)

As an aside, Spybot Search and Destroy ("Spybot S&D" -- free download, google it) will automatically block nearly all that's out there, and with the addition of "Spyware Blaster" (Spybot S&D will suggest it and provide the link once you download Spybot S&D), you will be able to see the abundance of spyware that is automatically blocked by the combination of those two, and that's even after a strong firewall.

"Avenue A" and a number of other nasty things, including the Gator wares, all blocked, so I highly recommend to anyone/all to go download Spybot S&D, Spyware Blaster and then also use AdAware, who will find little to nothing if you have the first two installed.

Yeah, the appointment is suspect. If not awful.

(Considering literary plot ... (Below threshold)

(Considering literary plot here...): Maybe it's part of some agreement, as in, antihero nabbed for harms against society of the security kind, later put to use securing areas of security on behalf of society (need leading heroic character to appear here)...

It's a thought.

What next? Bill Clinton be... (Below threshold)

What next? Bill Clinton becoming a spiritual advisor to the YWCA?

I'll bet he uses a Mac.<br ... (Below threshold)

I'll bet he uses a Mac.

No wait, I got it. Let's g... (Below threshold)

No wait, I got it. Let's get Howard Stern appointed as an FCC commissioner...






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