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News.com has announced that America Online, Yahoo, CNET Networks, Verizon and Computer Associates are among the companies backing the new Trusted Download Program. The companies are working closely with the online privacy group Truste in releasing standards for software downloads to be certified, which should be released early next year. Here’s what to know about the Trusted Download Program:
It’s important to note that this new program won’t necessarily blacklist adware or spyware. In order to be certified under these new standards, software makers will have to clearly communicate what their product does (within the context of spyware and/or adaware) and request consent of the consumer both before downloading and installing.
An example stated is that of software tracking user behavior and displaying advertisement popups. In order for such software to be certified, it must first present a disclosure explaining which user settings might change, what will be tracked, and what popups will be displayed. And the best part: easy uninstallation instructions must be provided and any ads must include the name of the software creating the ads.
This program may not eliminate spyware or adware, but it will definitely make it less of a threat. Spyware, as it is now, is notoriously sneaky and difficult to eliminate. But if enough consumers take the Trusted Download Program seriously, software that is not certified will slowly disappear as it won’t be trusted.