One more post on spyware and adware, which is one of my major criticisms of advertising and marketing as its obsession with measurement of every flick of consumer’s eyeball provides a fertile ground for the ad/spyware scum. Dan Gillmor explains why one senator’s likening spyware to somebody walking around your house, kind of invisibly was inadequate.
Spyware is more like someone planting hidden cameras and microphones around your house and office, and even in the bathrooms. It’s just about the sleaziest online activity there is. Given the severity of the problem, one might be pleased to hear that Congress seems fairly serious this year about doing something about it. But it’s too soon to get our hopes up. For a variety of reasons, including the sheer indifference of the bad guys to the rule of law, this plague will be enormously difficult to slow, much less halt.
The stakes are high and growing. Nothing less than the future of online commerce and communications may ride on whether we find ways to deal with spyware.
Quite. And he is spot on about the underlying problem:
IT people need to explain to marketing people that it is never acceptable to install unwanted software on customers’ computers. And marketing people need to understand what they risk if they go ahead and do it.
What they risk with me is simple: If I learn that a company has even attempted to pull a fast one, I put it on my personal blacklist, which means never doing business with it again.
The reason I devote and plan to devote much effort to highlighting the unholy alliance of spyware/adware and ‘respectable’ online advertising and marketing industry, is that the connection does not seem to be obvious enough. So watch this space, I am not done yet..