Ask-Jeeves Software tagged as Spyware

By | September 13, 2005

Anti-spyware vendors flagged Ask Jevees web browser plug-in as a spyware since the company´s partners fail to adequately notify computer users before installing the software, as opposed to burying the fact in a disclosure document.

“It´s more the fact that grandma has a machine cluttered up with a lot of stuff, and she doesn´t know how it got there. Or, an enterprise has in its machines that are not part of the software package they want in the computer,” Alex Eckelberry, president of Sunbelt, said. “It´s a very simple thing. Ask Jeeves needs to do some work on their distribution channel, so people are provided with adequate notice and disclosure.”

The state of spyware definition among the security industry is not clear yet. This situation brings security vendors to create their own definitions, which can vary widely and cause confusion among users. As to why Ask Jeeves software finds itself in the spyware category, Natalie Lambert, analyst for Forrester Research, said, “The fact that the program would be hidden in the first place perplexes me.”

Kirk Lawrence, director of Internet Security and Privacy said in a comment: “Any company that is determined to have violated Ask Jeeves guidelines, including spyware practices, unauthorized distribution of our products, or inadequate disclosures to end users of downloadable software applications, will be brought into compliance or terminated as an Ask Jeeves distribution partner.”

The Anti-Spyware coalition is keep working to find a spyware definition, but it looks like its going to take a while to get all vendors agree.

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