Friday, October 10, 2003


'Snoopware' troubles privacy advocates  

'Snoopware' troubles privacy advocates: "'Snoopware' troubles privacy advocates
Earlier this year, Rick Eaton did something unusual in the world of high technology: He made his product weaker.
Eaton is the founder of a company, TrueActive, that makes a computer program that buyers can install on a target computer and monitor everything that the machine's user does on the PC.
Spying with software has been around for several years, but Eaton decided that one new feature in his program crossed a line between monitoring and snooping. That feature is called 'silent deploy,' which allows the buyer to place the program on someone else's computer secretly via e-mail, without having physical access to the machine. To Eaton, that constituted an invitation to install unethical and even illegal wiretaps. He made the change, he said, 'so we could live with ourselves.'"

This part is a clear example of a software author with ethics. I wish that more such authors would follow his lead. However, there is one paragraph in the story that bears emphasis:

"Anybody who routinely uses a computer that isn't their own ought to be thinking, 'Who's looking over my shoulder?' " said Ross Stapleton-Gray, a computer consultant who has worked for the University of California system.

I suspect that this is one thing that doesn't leap to our minds when we travel.

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