Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Stopbadware Backed By Google, Lenovo, And Sun

Several academic institutions and major tech companies have teamed up to thwart "badware," a phrase they have coined that encompasses spyware and adware.

Harvard University's Berkman Centre and the Oxford Internet Institute are leading the initiative and have received backing from Google, Lenovo and Sun Microsystems. The new website,, is promoted as a "Neighborhood Watch" campaign and seeks to "provide reliable, objective information about downloadable applications in order to help consumers to make better choices about what they download on to their computers." The group differs from the large Anti-Spyware Coalition which is backed by Microsoft, Symantec, Yahoo, Computer Associates, AOL, and many others, by attempting to be a more grassroots initiative. StopBadware seeks the involvement of the community by asking for submissions of stories and technical reports.

With so many organizations involved with anti-spyware and anti-adware initiatives, the first question on many reader's minds is what makes this group different - aside from its backing by Internet giant Google, along with Lenovo and Sun. According to their FAQ: "Unlike many of the companies working in the space, our roots are in organizations (.orgs and .edus) with independent traditions, so we won't be afraid to call out badware creators of any size. We're not going to hand down solutions from on high - we want to work with both experts and the broader internet community to define and understand the problem."

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