Little Rant by Eightball & Thundercloud
From InfoAve Premium Issue #54 - Revised on July 10, 2007
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Creative Writing 101
Preface: As of July
10, 2007, there are new spyware laws pending in the United States
Congress. But the new spyware laws are suspiciously like the old ones
already in place. These laws are not designed to protect you - no siree!
They are designed to protect the spyware (adware) developers. It
represents another no-win situation for the common folk - and yet
another victory for the rich and powerful. How long can we allow our
leaders to work for the rich and powerful, ignore the masses while
pursuing their own personal wealth and power before we say "enough is
enough!" Apparently, no one cares. Do you?
Today, we take a humorous -but sadly honest look - at how spyware
(adware) developers manipulate the system and tell you why spyware
(adware) is only going to get more pervasive. Not in spite of the new
anti-spyware laws, but because of them. You would think we would learn
from history. But those who choose to ignore history will be doomed to
repeat it. That would be us, would it not?
The article which
follows was originally written in 2004. It could have been written on
July 10, 2007. Because essentially nothing has changed. The new spyware
bills pending in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives are
almost identical to those passed almost three years ago. When will we
The United States Congress recently passed two spyware acts.
The news media have reported these pending new laws as if they were the most significant
things to happen to the Internet since broadband. One might start actually believing that
spyware is on its deathbed. But, did you know that these spyware acts do not make
spyware illegal per se, they merely make it mandatory that spyware companies inform you
that their products are spyware and ensure that you actually choose to to install this
junk rather than having it forced upon you? The heart of legislation is in the
interpretation and there is plenty of wiggle-room in these two laws.
Legal spyware? Of course. All a spyware developer has to do, to
comply with the new laws, is inform you that the program you are about to install is going
to make x,y,z changes, transmit x,y,z, data about you, show you popup ads, hijack your
browser or search engine, etc. Also, the developer has provide a link to download rather
than automatically ramming the spyware down your computer's throat without your knowledge
or permission. The license agreement must contain all the information about the spyware
program including what it will do when installed on a (your) personal computer. But,
spyware developers know, (and we all know this is true) most people dont read EULAs
(End-User License Agreements). And, even if they did, the EULA could be creatively written
to make spyware sound really cool; even desirable.
That brings us to todays
course in creative writing. Lets pretend were spyware developers and we have a
program called GummyFun that has made millions for us and provided us with a
lavish lifestyle. We note the spyware acts have passed but were not concerned! We
are a multi-million dollar company! We think: "Lawyers". So, we hire the legal
firm of Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe to render an interpretation of the spyware legislation
and look for loopholes. We certainly don't want to have to stop buying new Beamers every
year (red convertibles, please). We especially don't want to stop having beautiful babes
or gorgeous guys (depending) serve us drinks on our yachts. Our handy-dandy GummyFun
Toolbar has been good to us. Who cares about all the computers we've ruined?
Hehe...certainly not us! (Jeeves, would you bring my car around?)
Every advertisement splattered on
all the desktops and popped up by our GummyFun Toolbar are "targeted ads".
<Grin> They're targeted ads because we spy on our users to find out where they surf,
what they search for, what they look at (hmmm if Robert's wife only knew!) and what they
buy. Targeted ads are little gold mines because "targeted" means we can charge
the advertisers A LOT for them. We're pretty slick eh? AH yes, and business is good
because all it takes to dupe unsuspecting lumps into downloading GummyFun is a few
thousands dollars worth of custom animated smileys. Its almost like buying Manhattan
Island for a couple of beads and trinkets :-)
After a couple of cursory (and
expensive) reviews of the spyware laws, the firm of Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe informs us
that in order to comply with the new spyware laws we must tell prospective users what
information will collect about them, how we will use that information, what we will do to
their computers, and if and how we will hijack their browser or search engine, and other
legalese ad nauseum. No problem! We decide to re-write our EULA to contain all the
information needed to comply with the law. Not the spirit of the
law of course. But comply with the letter of the law we shall.
So, we write a
creative EULA fit for a college course in creative writing. We'll call our
course: "Creative Writing 101: Writing Spyware End-User License Agreements".
END-USER LICENSE AGREEMENT
is a really cool program that makes it easy to put funny gummies and smiley faces in your
Yep, you'll be the envy of your friends when they see your cool gummies squirming
to and fro in your emails. What fun! And it's FREE, FREE, FREE!
install a toolbar in your email program and Web browser to make using GummyFun easier for
you to use. This cool toolbar will also help you search the web by showing you results
relevant to your interests. Isnt that neat? We can tell what youre interested
in because we will automatically track the web sites you visit, the images you see and the
software you download, the products you buy, your usernames, passwords, and credit card
numbers and store them all in our GummyFun database. We might not share your information
with anyone but it may sometimes be necessary for us to do so: like for instance when we
need the money to buy new yachts. Modern technology is great, isnt it! Here's an
example: If youre looking for digital cameras, we keep track of the type of camera
youre searching for. That way we can display really neat advertisements with all
sorts of digital camera deals and digital camera accessories. You won't even have to open
your browser because we'll pop these things right up on your desktop! Now, how's that for
convenience! Think of the time this will save you! All of these advertisements we will
display in your browser and on your desktop are paid advertisements. Hey, we have to make
a buck too! The more we make, the more cool Gummies we can give you FREE! FREE! FREE!
GummyFun will also change your
browser's home page to GummyFuns home page. That way we can show you even MORE great
advertisements and other great deals on almost everything you could ever want! You'll
never to worry about having some dumb, boring web site to look at every time you open your
browser. No Siree! Our GummyFun home page is your home page! It's full of flashing
advertisements, gaudy colors and animated gifs; designed to catch your eye and make your
web experience more exciting. And, guess what? This service is free because we're your
friends! We all love you here at GummyFun. We want you to have a great time on the Web and
to find the best deals available (as long as you buy from one of our advertisers). And we
promise to collect all the information we can about you so we can enhance your web
experience even more and provide you with even more really great advertisements and
sorta-relevant search results based on thousands of your previous searches. And, again, we
want to remind you these services are FREE, FREE, FREE! Thats right! FREE!
And, hey, you know
those pesky Web forms you have to fill out, the ones where you can never remember all
those darned usernames and passwords? Well, worry no more! GummyFun Toolbar will keep
track of all your usernames, passwords and credit card numbers and store them safely on
our servers so that just in case your computer goes belly-up, you can get them back again
from us! Can you believe it? Its true. We are watching out for you. And guess
what? This service is FREE!
FREE! FREE! FREE! All this information we collect about you
will only be sold to third parties if they pay us a ton of money! We won't sell you cheap!
That's a promise!
So, now that you
know what great folks we are here at GummyFun, you can relax and trust us. In order to
download our GummyFun toolbar you have to agree that you have read and understand the
above (DUH!) and that by clicking the following link to download you agree to be bound by
the terms in this EULA. Additionally you agree to and understand that we may, in order to
keep your GummyFun toolbar up-to-date, show you really cool and relevant advertising on
your desktop and in your browser, and store all your personal information on our servers
(what a great service, eh?) freely access and communicate with your computer via our Web
servers. Yes you grant us 24 hour access to your computer so we can make your GummyFun
experience more pleasurable. All your personally identifiable and not-so-personally
identifiable information is kept sorta confidential unless of course we can sell it for a
lot of money in which case we'll give you lots more Gummies free! FREE! FREE! FREE!
the GummyFun promise!
Now you know what
great people we are and what fun web products we have...what the heck are you waiting for?
Start getting all these great services right now PLUS all the cool little smiling, jumping
gyrating gummy smileys for your email by clicking THIS
Meanwhile, back on
Hey, Barbie! Love your new bikini babe! Would ya bring me another martini, shaken, not stirred, two olives....
get my stupid pilot on the phone, I want my Gulfstream here to pick me
up tomorrow. I have to go see Senator Slimeball - it's time for another
us what you think! Please
you're at it, do you have any slimeware on your computer? Check it out
Scan your system with Spyware Doctor - the ultimate enemy
of slimeball companies.
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