Consumer group slams RealPlayer as 'badware'

A consumer advocacy group is blasting RealNetworks for installing adware and other software without properly notifying its users. In a report published Thursday, StopBadware.org faults the latest version of RealPlayer for secretly installing its Rhapsody Player Engine during the RealPlayer installation.

"RealPlayer 11 does not disclose that it installs Rhapsody Player Engine, and does not remove the software when RealPlayer is uninstalled," Stopbadware says in the report. Rhapsody Player Engine is required to access RealNetwork's online music service. But because users are not told that they have installed the product it could become a liability, using up the computer's hard-drive space or processing power, or even creating a security risk for consumers if bugs are discovered in Rhapsody, said Maxim Weinstein, StopBadware's manager.

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