Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Ok, I am all for this but pretty sceptical of the impact they can make: is an initiative started by the Harvard Berkman Center and the Oxford Internet Institute, intent on trying to combat the growing problem of spyware and malware on the net.

"In an effort to stamp out what has become an epidemic of spyware, unwanted adware and other malicious software plaguing millions of computers and costing consumers billions of dollars each year, Internet research centers at Harvard Law School and Oxford University plan to introduce a program aimed at revealing the shady companies that produce them. The project has received an initial outlay of funding "in the seven figures" from several high-profile technology companies, including Google, Lenovo, and Sun Microsystems, according to the executive director of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, John Palfrey Jr. Chief among its goals will be the development of a database of consumer testimony on their experiences with malicious software, which they will be able to submit at the project's Web site, The group, which will be jointly organized by Consumer Reports WebWatch, the Internet integrity unit of the nonprofit Consumers Union, will also publicize the names and methods that companies use to get marketing, tracking and sometimes damaging software onto consumers' machines."