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Ari Schwartz
CDT Associate Director


t 202-637-9800



For Immediate Release

October 27, 2005

Industry, Public Interest Groups Continue Strides to Combat Spyware

Anti-Spyware Coalition Finalizes Spyware Definition; Releases Risk Modeling Document; Announces Public Meeting

Washington, D.C. – October 27, 2005 – The Anti-Spyware Coalition (ASC), an alliance of technology companies and public interest groups, today announced several key accomplishments in its ongoing effort to help users combat the unwanted and often dangerous spyware infesting their computers.

As both Cyber-Security and Domestic Violence Awareness Month draws to a close,  ASC today unveiled its final, consensus definition of spyware, which was developed by coalition members including major anti-spyware companies, software developers and public interest groups. The definitions were further shaped by almost 400 comments submitted by organizations and individuals to the ASC Web site ( The final document, available now on the ASC Web site, will serve as the foundation for all of the coalition's future anti-spyware efforts.

The coalition announced the first of those efforts today: an ASC "risk modeling" document that outlines the objective criteria anti-spyware vendors use to determine whether to identify a piece of software as "spyware."  The document, which goes into considerable technical detail about the specific behaviors that make certain technologies risky, will help users better understand how the products that protect their computers work, as well as offering anti-spyware companies guidelines for their own proprietary rating processes, but still keeping a robust marketplace for anti-spyware technologies.

Just as the spyware definition laid the groundwork for the risk-modeling document, the risk-modeling document sets the stage for the eventual development of industry-wide "best practices." As was the case with the definitions document, the risk modeling language will be open for public comment until November 27, 2005 on the ASC Web site.

"Thanks to the exceptional commitment of the organizations and companies that formed the ASC, we've accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time," said Ari Schwartz, Associate Director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, which has led the work of the group. "The spyware definitions give those of us united in the battle against spyware a common language, while the risk-modeling document clearly lays out the behaviors that make certain software dangerous. These developments move us closer to a world in which consumers have the upper hand over those who create malicious, unwanted technology.

The ASC also today announced its first ever public meeting, scheduled to take place February 9, 2006 at the Hyatt Capitol Hill in Washington DC. The meeting offers members of the public as well as organizations and industries that don't work directly with the ASC an opportunity to learn about the latest anti-spyware efforts, share their spyware-related concerns and participate in efforts to combat the problem. Confirmed keynoters include FTC Chairman Deborah Majoras and Wall Street Journal Columnist Walt Mossberg. The ASC will hold a second public meeting in Ottawa on May 16. Details about both events are available on the ASC Web site.

About the Anti-Spyware Coalition: The ASC is a group dedicated to building a consensus about definitions and best practices in the debate surrounding spyware and other potentially unwanted technologies. Composed of anti-spyware software companies, academics, and consumer groups, the ASC seeks to bring together a diverse array of perspective on the problem of controlling spyware and other potentially unwanted technologies.
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