After discovering a spyware component called Adroar recently, I spent some time investigating its origins and found some really scary aspects of its license. First off, Adroar seems to be built and operated by a company called Qtech. Don't bother looking for Qtech on the Web--there are tons of companies working under that name. The spyware Qtech represents itself on the Web at Avatar Resources. Spyware companies seem to be fond of frequent name changes and running front companies, probably because they suffer a reputation problem. Qtech also runs a Web proxy service called Guardster that offers anonymous Web surfing. Considering Qtech's spyware companies, I wouldn't trust its Guardster service.
Browsing around the Avatar Resources and Adroar Web sites, the phrase "contextual marketing platform" comes up a lot. That's just a fancy way of saying spyware. The Qtech license is even more interesting. It insists that the software doesn't collect any personally identifiable information, yet the software has license to record your IP address, domain, ISP, Web sites you visit, software installed on your computer, your ZIP Code, and, scariest of all, information you enter into Web forms. Sounds pretty personal to me.
The license also gives Qtech a lot of control over your computer. It includes a clause about how Qtech may disable other spyware and adware. I'm all for letting spyware companies battle to the death, but not on my computer. Qtech may also download and install new spyware components from Qtech or any third party, without the user's consent. At this point in the license, there really should be a phrase that says Qtech is the embodiment of evil, and will come over to your house, corrupt your children, and drink all your beer.
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