Methods and Effects of Spyware

Methods and Effects of Spyware (PDF) is my written response to the FTC‘s call for comments (PDF), leading up to their April 19 workshop on spyware. In this document, I explain how spyware works, including presenting specific personal information transmitted by both Gator and WhenU. (The WhenU transmissions are particularly notable because these transmissions seem to violate WhenU’s own privacy policy.) Other sections of the document discuss installation methods of spyware (with special consideration of the technical methods used in drive-by downloads), frequency of advertisement display, and performance and security effects of spyware.

I hope to attend the FTC’s April workshop, and I would be particularly pleased to hear from others who will be there or who have comments on this issue.