Consumer privacy firm TRUSTe is under fire from spyware researchers over its handling of a recent rogue download incident, and the fallout is leading those connected with the case to publicly question the firm's credibility. The controversy stems from the way TRUSTe handled reports that web traffic analysis firm comScore was installing its tracking software. The software, known as RelevantKnowledge, is used to gather information on a user's internet behaviour such as website traffic and purchasing patterns. It normally requires direct consent from the user before installation.
Until recently, RelevantKnowledge had been listed on a beta version of TRUSTe's Trusted Download Program under which distributors are required to meet certain criteria in regards to how software is installed or removed, and how users are notified of installations. The aim of the initiative, according to TRUSTe, is to create a 'white list' to help guide advertisers towards vendors that use ethical practices to distribute products.