Ray Everett-Church is the AGLOCO Chief Privacy Officer. He was also the Chief Privacy Officer at AllAdvantage. Ray has been reading the comments in the 1000 AGLOCO Sign Ups post and this is what he had to say about the spyware issue.
I couldn’t disagree more with the characterization of the Viewbar as spyware. In my experience, spyware has four main characteristics: 1) It’s installed without your permission; 2) It surreptitiously tracks you; 3) it is difficult if not impossible to turn off or remove; and, 4) it sends your information to an unknown and untrustworthy entity where you have no control over what happens to it.
I know a thing or two about spyware: I was an expert witness in a series of twelve lawsuits in which I testified against one of the major perpetrators of spyware on the Internet. They actually hired me in part because of my experiences at AllAdvantage with permission-based and privacy-protecting advertising technologies like the Viewbar.
If you’re interested (or can’t sleep!) you can read brief excerpts from my 80-page expert witness report (the whole report is, unfortunately, under seal by the federal court). I submitted the excerpts when I testified at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s Workshop on Spyware in 2004. My written materials are here.
I hope that helps clarify things a bit more.
AGLOCO Chief Privacy Officer
Called the “dean of corporate privacy officers” by Inter@ctive Week Magazine, Ray Everett-Church is an internationally recognized expert on privacy law and Internet-related public policy. He is also the author of Internet Privacy For Dummies.