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Consumer Organization Calls RealPlayer Software ‘Badware’

StopBadware.org, an organization for Internet security, has labeled the pair of latest editions of the widely used RealPlayer as "badware" because it allegedly loads its Rhapsody Player Engine during the installation of RealPlayer while the computer user remains unaware.

StopBadware.org found the recent versions 10.5 and 11 of the video and audio player faulty and so designated them as badware as they do not disclose their some actions to the users.

StopBadware.org describes software as badware when it fails to fulfill users' choice. Deceptive adware, spyware and malware are regarded as badware, though they are accountable to cheating by their creators. It can be argued that this deception is clearly different from the exaggerations and white lies that are unfailingly used in marketing.

The StopBadware.org group became aware of RealNetworks' software when it received complaint from a user. This user was browsing a Website when he saw a message requiring him to get a plug-in to make some content visible. When the user installed that plug-in, he got the complete version of RealPlayer 10.5 but in some minutes, he saw ads popping up on his computer screen.

The ads packaged with RealPlayer misguides in being referred to as a "message center" and are inconspicuously and incompletely described in the End User License Agreement (EULA) as software that provides useful updates.

Once RealPlayer 10.5 is loaded, it automatically enables the advertising components of the 'message center' for the purpose of users who don't register their private information with RealNetworks post installation.

According to StopBadware.org researchers, RealPlayer fails to notify users about the installation of the Rhapsody player for the service of RealNetworks' online music, keeping it permanently on the system even on uninstalling RealPlayer. Neither during installation nor during un-installation is the user informed that Real Player is connected to the Rhapsody player.

However, RealNetworks said that the Rhapsody issue was an oversight. Spokesman Ryan Luckin argued that when a user un-installs RealPlayer and since RealNetworks doesn't revert to uninstall Rhapsody, the issue becomes one of oversight, however, the company now thinks it would address it next time. InfoWorld published this in news on February 5, 2008.

Related article: Consumer NZ Website Encounters Hack

» SPAMfighter News - 2/13/2008

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