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Is this legal?
Well, Gator's terms and conditions do tell you they are going to do this. And you are supposed to read them (all gazillion pages) before you download program. And of course, terms and conditions are written in such a user friendly and simple way that you would certainly have no trouble completely understanding and agreeing to their tactics. (Sarcasm intentional).
I'm sure Gator would also argue that web sites do not own user's desktops. And after all, users did agree to terms and conditions by installing Gator, so they must want this "service", right?
I must admit I am just as guilty as everyone else, when it comes to reading terms and conditions. I mean, I just downloaded silly thing and installed it. I did what everyone else does - I clicked through terms and conditions without a glance. For all I know, I could have signed away my soul.
This is a lesson we all have to learn - by clicking through terms and conditions we AGREE to them. By installing a program, we AGREE to terms and conditions. Since ONLY WAY to install program is to click through screen containing terms and conditions and clicking a button that says, "yes I read this and I understand that my soul now belongs to you and I am happy with it", well, companies are covered. Oh yes, and your soul is toast.
Are programs such as this ethical?
No. Not by any definition of word. This is unethical in terms that adult web sites have not even come close to. Programs like Gator are produced by lowest form of pond scum - scum which is so dirty and filthy that even normal scum does not want to be associated with it. In fact, if this pond scum enters a pond, all of other scum will go to a different pond in a different country just so as not to sully their own names any more than they already have.
What should we do about it?
First, we all need to start reading terms and conditions. The web is based upon these poorly written, conniving and often one-sided documents. We must ALL begin to read them, understand them, and if we don't agree to them, then we must not install program or use service.
Second, do as I have done. If you have any Spyware (programs which report your information back to home office) or Hijackware (programs like Gator), uninstall it immediately without any delay. Download Ad-Aware, run it and follow directions. This will allow you to safely remove all of this junk from your system fast.
Third, if you find out that advertisers are using Hijackware, then refuse to purchase their products. Be sure and send them an email to let them know why you are doing so. Be polite and direct.
Forth, if you like Hijackware's functions but do not want to experience it's side effects, then look for an alternative. There are plenty of programs out there that can do what you want without being so unethical, obnoxious and downright, well, evil about it.
My final advice. Just say no. It's simple and it's easy. Don't use these kinds of programs and don't purchase from companies who use them. This is only way that we will force this kind of scum out of business.
Ad Blocking http://www.internet-tips.net/Security/adblocking.htm Banner ads are everywhere, and they take up valuable bandwidth. In addition, they are ugly and distracting. Here's how to remove them.
Browser Helper Objects http://www.internet-tips.net/Browsers/bho.htm Is your system crashing? Perhaps you've unknowingly done what I did - added a Browser Helper Object.
Products - Ad-Aware http://www.internet-tips.net/Products/adaware.htm Want to remove spyware from your system? Ad-Aware is a quick and simple product which will help you do that safely.
Products - AdSubtract Pro http://www.internet-tips.net/Products/adsubtract.htm You want to eliminate banner ads and web bugs? AdSubtract Pro does an excellent job.
Products - Cookie Pal http://www.internet-tips.net/Products/cookiepal.htm Need to manage cookies as you surf internet? Then you will not find a better program than Cookie Pal.
Tanstaaf - Spyware http://www.internet-tips.net/Tanstaafl/spyware.htm Be careful installing ad supported products - you may find that you every move on internet is being watched!
Tanstaafl - Spyware - Alexa http://www.internet-tips.net/Tanstaafl/spyware_alexa.htm Alexa is one of more flagrant spyware products. My advice is to avoid it like plague.
Tanstaafl - Juno http://www.internet-tips.net/Tanstaafl anstaafl_juno.htm Juno wants to turn your computer into a module of it's own supercomputer. Do you really want to let them?
Web Bugs http://www.internet-tips.net/Security/webbugs.htm Web bugs are little graphic images inserted into web pages, emails and other web-aware documents to allow companies to gather information about you without your knowledge.
Web Bugs Are Crawling Everywhere http://www.internet-tips.net/Security/webbugs_growing.htm You've heard about web bugs. They are little things designed to track your movements. Watch out - they are exploding all over internet.
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