Group revives effort to define spyware

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Security

A new group, tentatively named the Anti-Spyware Coalition, plans to publish proposed guidelines later this summer that define spyware, best practices around desktop software development and a common lexicon, people involved with the group told CNET News.com.

Debate has gone on for years over spyware and adware, which the companies that make the applications defend as legitimate marketing tools. The terms are slippery, frequently used to apply both to the information-thieving software and the often-annoying advertising tools bundled with free software programs.

Both spyware and adware can impact PC performance, often after being surreptitiously installed on a user's PC to gather information about the user that is used for advertising or provided to other interested parties. The market for tools to remove the unwanted software is booming.

If the new coalition succeeds, its work could clear up confusion over spyware and adware, helping consumers keep their PCs clean. Also, the group's work could help software makers and legitimate advertisers improve their products.

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