The group, StopBadware.org, posted an “open inquiry” into the AOL software yesterday, meaning that a dialogue has been opened with the company and that a full “badware” designation is still pending.
The report, however, stated that the AOL client software, which provides subscribers with a suite of services, also installed extra software deceptively, altered the Web browser and other computer components without notifying the user, and did not uninstall completely, among other “badware behaviors.”
Similar characteristics are often found in pernicious forms of spyware and adware, often called malware. The StopBadware organization was founded in part to assist consumers in spotting shady software. The group is run by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and the Oxford Internet Institute of Oxford University.