StopBadware.org on Monday put AOL's version 9.0 on its "Badware Watch List." The anti-spyware group cites, among other factors, the inclusion of bundled software applications and nondisclosure of additional installed components as reasons for its concern.
The report is one in a recent series released by the group, which is backed by Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Oxford University's Oxford Internet Institute. It is part of an ongoing effort by the organization to battle harmful spyware programs.
"AOL is a trusted brand and has always been a leader in the fight against badware," said John Palfrey, co-director of StopBadware.org and executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. "Clearly, AOL does not belong in the same category as the malicious badware providers we have previously identified, but the free version of AOL 9.0 that we tested, in our view, does not live up to the company's rich legacy," Palfrey continued.
The report explains why AOL 9.0 is considered badware while calling on the Internet giant to provide users with proper information on exactly what they are putting on their computers, as well as a means to opt out or uninstall unwanted programs. In its research, StopBadware.org found that AOL 9.0 engages in several badware behaviors, such as installing additional and unnecessary software -- including QuickTime, RealPlayer, Viewpoint Media Player and Pure Networks Port Magic -- without informing users, and adding various components to Internet Explorer without disclosure.
News source: Tech News World