Knowledge and consent
Posted Dec 17, 2012 14:29 UTC (Mon) by man_ls
In reply to: my problem is with using the term "spyware"
Parent article: Ubuntu, non-advertisements, and spyware
I don't think your definition:
The term "Spyware" needs to be reserved for the cases where applications grab and report information that is not needed for the functionality they are providing
is good enough for your purpose. It would allow scammers get away, saying that the functionality they are providing (however bizarre) requires sending the address book to the mothership, e.g.: finding what your friends have visited to recommend similar products in ads.
I would rather say:
Spyware: software that grabs and uses private information without the knowledge of the user.
This fits nicely with what spyware actually does, and leaves Ubuntu out (since they don't hide that they are sending searches to Amazon servers).
But I am not sure if the "knowledge" of the user is enough, or a proper definition should use the "consent" of the user. Even more importantly, nobody requested that feature: Canonical enabled it just to make money out of their users' private information. The definition that Stallman seems to be using is the stronger:
Spyware: software that grabs and uses private information for the benefit of the maker and without the users' consent.
I can relate to it. Perhaps it is beneficial to spread this definition so other dubious uses of private data are also stigmatized, but it is probably too broad.
to post comments)