That is the key. Companies could, without your consent or
knowledge, collect thousands of credit card numbers. Or names
and addresses. They aren't now, but there is no way to stop
them. Spyware is installed on your computer automatically when
you download seemingly innocent free software. You don't know
that it's working so you can't protect yourself.
Adware is not the same as Spyware. Companies offer Adware
free, then put advertising into the software to make money on
the deal. Adware will always have a clear explanation of what
you are giving up in exchange the free software. Spyware never
mentions the data gathering that will go on inside your
The biggest problem with Spyware is the lack of disclosure. If
consumers where given some sort of warning that to download
certain software is to download Spyware, the Spyware would
loose it's insidious nature. But for now no such warning
The best defense against Spyware is the Internet. There are
numerous sites dedicated to protecting you from the effects of
Spyware. You can find lists of known Spyware and procedures
for removing it from your computer, free software for
protecting your computer against Spyware, and Antispyware
software for sale.
If we can educate people about Spyware eventually it will be
crushed out of existence. Companies can not be allowed to
invade individual privacy in such a blatant manner.