Ad/spyware vendors have been threatening websites who call their product spyware, as well as threatening (or offering marketing partnerships to) security companies to weaken their detection criteria. Pest Patrol is the latest to bend to the pressure, and has temporarily suspended all detection of Claria ad/spyware.
CA's Vendor Appeals page
carries the news, which indicates that all Claria products - including Dashbar, Date Manager, Gator/GAIN, GotSmiley, and Precision Time, have been temporarily removed from their detection database pending further analysis. Security Researcher Eric Howes discusses the move in our Security forum
If you recall, Lavasoft (the makers of AdAware) were recently roundly criticized by our community after they removed WhenU products from their detection database. Lavasoft failed to clearly explain
the move, subsequently offered users an uninstallation tool that didn't work
, and then ultimately decided WhenU products were
a threat after all, and began detecting their products again.
While Pest Patrol is on Claria hiatus, they've failed to offer users any sort of removal tool, instead - as Eric Howes notes - offer a dead link to removal instructions (now fixed
). This of course is assuming Pest Patrol users make the product's Vendor Appeals page part of their daily reading in the first place.
This waffling by Lavasoft, Computer Associates, and other anti-spyware developers is thanks to legal threats and warnings being hurled about by the spy and adware industry, who are frightened that looming laws could curtail their revenue party. Spyware analyst Ben Edelman last week compiled a list
of the websites and developers who have received legal threats from the industry.