AdWare.Win32.Agent.ul as a Label
According to Steve Gibson, a very famous computer programmer, “Targeting, profiling, and tracking individuals across the Internet is UNETHICAL unless the individual has given these companies explicit permission to do so. Absent explicit permission, surveillance represents spying which should be prevented, banned, and outlawed.”
Probably very few of us are above a bit of snooping every now and then. As kids, we’d play “Green Berets” in the woods, “spying” on the guys who were building the new house down the road. You probably did something similar. Now that we’re adults, you and I sometimes prick our ears up to “listen in” on another’s conversation, or peer over the pages of our magazine to watch the doings of a family member or fellow worker. If we don’t have much of a conscience, or if we see a pressing need, we might go even further — listen to another’s phone messages, pry into someone else’s email, poke around in their computer files. It’s part of the human condition. Parents snoop through their kids’ sock drawers, and the kids return the favor. Bosses keep track of their employees’ Net surfing habits. Spouses comb through their better halves’ credit card statements. It’s human nature to want to know what others are up to, and depending on the situation, it can be classed as harmless nosiness, standard business practice, harsh necessity, or an invasion of privacy.
Both the computing world and commercial enterprises indulge in as much snoopery as any other branch of human existence, and the ethical questions and variety of practices employed in both areas are just as wide-ranging as anywhere else — especially when they overlap. At the more objectionable end of personal and business computing is the branch of often harmful, usually unethical, and always invasive category of software utilities, browser add-ons, and advertising tactics clumped together under the terms “spyware,” “adware, AdWare.Win32.Agent.ul ,” “thiefware,” “malware,” and other labels. These range from programs that transmit data on your surfing and purchasing habits to advertising cartels, all the way to virus-like programs that hijack your computer and force you to visit designated sites (anything from vendors to porn purveyors). They may change your computer’s settings, damage your file structure, disable other programs, and surreptitiously share your computer’s resources with other networks.