Group finalizes spyware detection guidelines

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The Anti-Spyware Coalition (ASC), which counts AOL, McAfee, Microsoft, Symantec and Yahoo among its members, this week released the final working report of a risk-model description that helps provide transparency in how anti-spyware companies evaluate software applications.

The final draft of the ASC's "risk-modelling description" details the objective criteria anti-spyware developers use to determine whether a specific piece of software should be identified as spyware. The finalized version follows input gathered after the ASC released a draft of the risk modelling description in October, opening it for public comment.

Ari Schwartz, deputy director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, said the document "clarifies the specific, objective behaviors that make certain programs dangerous. By demystifying the process of identifying and flagging spyware, the risk-modelling description gives consumers a clearer understanding of how anti-spyware software protects them. It should also begin to aid software developers in making safer, more consumer-friendly software."

Next month leading spyware experts will convene at the Center for Democracy and Technology in the U.S. for the ASC's first-ever public workshop, subtitled "Defining the Problem, Creating Solutions."

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