Via Meredith is this Wired News article about people who don’t mind spyware. To summarise, users claim that spyware is either a necessity to allow for free software:
But some users of iMesh didn’t seem to be troubled by the actions of Marketscore. Users at iMesh forums chided those who complained, posting messages stating that “without spyware there’s no such thing as free software.”
Or, the spyware offers features that are useful to them:
“The users knew they had the application on their computers, and they knew exactly what it did,” said Mullaney. “They said they’d opted to install it on their computers because they wanted the eWallet application that stores passwords and credit card numbers, entering them into web forms with one click. The users said you have to get the adware if you want the eWallet.”
Oh dear. Those arguments would be valid if there were indeed no alternatives, but, alas there are. Take the first example – putting up with spyware so that one can use iMesh. Why not dump iMesh and use another free P2P client which doesn’t contain spyware? eMule and Shareaza are both very good, is adequate and I’ve yet to find a spyware-infested BitTorrent client.
And as for programs like Gator, most web browsers will remember details for you and there are programs like Roboform that can do the job too.
No user should have to put up with spyware. If a program insists on installing spyware before you can use it, then it’s time to find a new program. There are alternatives out there.