Weaselware Spreading

According to Microsoft’s announcement, customers will need the ability to reach their personal computers to repair, uninstall, restrict or disable software purchased from the Windows Store.

Vendors of mobile app and carriers involved are among the greatest and at the same time inadequate offenders in the invasion-of-privacy contest. If carriers want to keep the network connections to their handsets alive, they have to track the location of customers.

Many carriers add Carrier IQ, monitoring software that tracks how the application runs on the smartphone. It also tracks how the carrier's services are performing for the customer and what conflicts the apps create for each other.

The software is also capable to report and audit on all software, data and apps that are present on a phone, on all keys users press, on every person user has called, e-mailed or texted and on all the locations they have been.

The information is collected without telling the customer what the data is captured or could be captured if the carriers want to. It is also possible that some malware writer will have a desire to take hold of the spyware and to capture the information even more maliciously and secretly.

The fact that Microsoft decide to extend the customer-paternalization, vendor-meddling and kill-switch policies to desktop software is a breakthrough on the way toward the further development of the "weaselware."

Technically speaking, weaselware is an information technology product distributed or created for unfair purposes. That’s why people who send it to you can be called weasels.

Among recent examples we can list anything from Facebook, profile comparisons, persistent cookies, cell-phone carriers' iPhones, Carrier IQ and LocationGate, flash cookies, any active or passive mechanisms that can be hidden by web sites in your browser.

The technology itself breaks user’s idea about total faultlessness of software vendors. Users always think that vendors won’t manipulate their choices, market them to third parties or spy on them. Software with properties of spyware or spyware itself can be an obvious example.

We cannot call weaselware anything that is secretly installed on your machine. It is also impossible to consider a weaselware anything that has control over a software or gives the develop access to it.