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https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/tosdr/WO0s8GaAQPM/ciwCVNhCAVMJ Good Morning All,
Sorry if this is too long. I hope some of you will read. I was pleasantly
surprised when I stumbled on your group. I really like the work you're
doing and would like to share my experiences with www.clearware.org.
I started Clearware with similar motivations. At the time there was alot
of Internet buzz abot spyware and adware. Google had launched their Stop
Badware campaign. There were various viewpoints on what constituted
badware. Was it the fact that software did all the things consumers didn't
want like popup ads, collect personal information or other potentially
unwanted behavior? Or, was it deceptive practices and not disclosing these
behaviours in ToS or end user license agreements? Concensus was the
deciding factor for "badware" is not disclosing these facts in ToS or
EULAs. Some argued this would give adware and spyware vendors a "get out
of jail" card and allow them to continue these practices with near impunity
so long as they disclosed their practices in the EULAs.
As you and I know... burying these terms in leagalize barely constitutes
informed consent. These EULAs and ToS are not intended to be user friendly
and some argue are intentionally confusing to continue the deception.
Regardless, we need a consumer friendly approach to EULAs and ToS.
I first considered proposing standardized language or terms in EULAs with
the hopes this would create some consitency amongst EULAs. I discussed
with people like Ben Edelman and eventually dicided this would likely not
be flexible enough for layers. Frankly, I didn't want to propose language
that could be used by software vendors to restrict or limit consumer
I thought about voluntary seals that vendors could use like those from
Trustee but felt this could be easily abused. I continued brainstorming
and had some great discussions with Ren Bucholz from the EFF. I then
decided on the idea of labels for software (or websites) just like there
are nutrition facts on food, warnings for hazard materials or care labels
on clothing. A vendor could use these labels to describe important terms
of their EULAs or ToS. The idea is not to replace the EULA or ToS but to
hilight what's important to consumers security, privacy and user
experience. If a vendor voluntarily provided these labels they would be
help liable for them to be accurate based on advertising laws that exist in
various countries and regions. If a vendor did not provide a label
they could be created by the community and stored in a clearing house.
Although crowd sourced labels don't have any legal backing I believe the
community would be effective at policing the accuracy of the labels.
In adition to a user friendly label, I was devising an XML based label that
could be used to programatically display a label. For example, a utility
could exist that monitors the installation of all software on a computer.
Once this utility detects the XML label it could present the label to the
user for clarification and prompt for action (ie. do you agree?). A user
could even set pre-defined preferences that says "do not agree" if the
software contains certain characteristics and the software installation
could be blocked. One developer I discussed with was planning to include
this in an Anti-virus/anti-adware software they were creating. Better yet,
this could be part of the OS for the installation of software.
Clearware was also mentioned in the dissertation of a Ph.D student in
Sweden(?) on the topic of Badware.
My initial comment regarding ToS;DR is that the rating scheme seems to
subjective. The scale may be based on the judgement of the person creating
the rating. Two people rating a ToS may come up with different ratings and
this may lead to confusion. At the time Stop Badware started, adware and
other potentially unwanted software was bundled with utilities that people
actually wanted like games, screensavers or other utilities. It's
conceivable that people want Facebook or other similar services to share
their location or other personal information with others because they want
the function that the application provides. What's may be considered
unwanted by one reviewer is wanted by another. I tried to avoid this by
explictly stating behaviour that consumers may want to be informed about.
In this way, the reviewer is making a yes or now assessment as opposed to
judging the severity of the goodness/baness.
I't's been a long time since I worked on Clearware. Do you think all the
characteristics are still relevant? Do you think others could be added?
GPS and location services are more popular know, however, this would be
covered in the generic "collects personal information" characteristic.
www.tos-dr.info // www.twitter.com/tosdr // www.github.com/didnotread
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GPS is truly not working finely in this device because of some errors in it. I hope the developers would work hard to debug this software. I always visit https://windowsmaximizer.com/driver/updates/vendors/hp to download updated versions of the drivers. People will quit using these devices if they did not focus on these sorts of errors.
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