Just days after posting details of searches made by hundreds of thousands of subscribers, AOL is in hot water again with consumer advocates. This time the issue is with the company's Active Virus Shield anti-virus software, released last week.
At issue is the software's licensing agreement, which authorizes AOL to gather and share data on how the software is being used and permits AOL and its affiliates to send e-mail to users. "If you go through the installation, just as any normal user would, there is not the slightest hint of any advertising functionality or data gathering of any kind," said Eric Howes, director of malware research at anti-spyware vendor Sunbelt Software.
Active Virus Shield uses Kaspersky Lab's well-regarded anti-virus software, and comes with an optional security toolbar that blocks pop-up ads and manages passwords. The software is available for free to anyone who wishes to download it.