A new bill has been introduced into Federal Parliament here in Australia, called the 'Spyware Bill 2005'. Note that the Bill is not yet law, and will not become so until Royal Assent is received.
You can download the entire Bill, as a PDF, at this link:
Imagine... computer owners will have the opportunity to give SEPARATE approval to individual changes made to their PC, will be shown a sample advertisement, and each advertisement that is generated by adware/spyware will have to identity itself (for example: 'This advertisement is being brought to you by....'). Each pop-up or other advertisement must include a hyperlink to information about how to turn the ads off. Not only that, the software must be easily and completely removable via Add/Remove Programs :o)
Hopefully the proposed Bill will become law, and then other countries and States will follow suit - burying feature disclosure within an EULA will no longer be sufficient notification.
Some of the more exquisite facets of the bill are as follows:
8. Notice, consent and removal of software requirements:
...notice to the user of a computer must:
(a) include a clear notification, displayed on the screen until the user either grants or denies consent to installation, of the name and general nature of the computer software that will be installed if the user grants consent; and
(b) include a SEPARATE DISCLOSURE, with respect to each information collection, advertising, distributed computing and settings modification feature contained in the computer software, that remains displayed on the screen until the user either grants or denies consent to that feature; and
(d) in the case of an adverting feature, provides:
(i) a representative example of the type of advertisement that may be delivered by the computer software; and
(ii) a clear description of the estimated frequency with which each type of advertisement may be delivered or the factors on which the frequency will depend; and
(iii) a clear description of how the user can distinguish each type of advertisement that the computer software delivers from advertisements generated by other software, Internet website operators or services; and
(e) …provides a clear description of:
(i) the type of information or messages the computer software will cause the computer to transmit; and
(ii) the estimated frequency…or the factors on which the frequency will depend;
(iii) the estimated volume of such information or messages, and the likely impact, if any, on the processing or communications capacity of the user’s computer; and
(iv) the nature, volume and likely impact on the computer’s processing capacity of any computational or processing tasks the computer software will cause the computer to perform in order to generate the information or messages the computer software will cause the computer to transmit; and
(f) in the case of a settings modification feature, provides a clear description of the nature of the modification, its function and any collateral effects the modification may produce, and procedures the user may follow to turn off such feature or uninstall the computer software.
(b) …SEPARATE AFFIRMATIVE CONSENT by the user of the computer to each information collection feature, advertising feature, distributing computing feature and setting modification feature contained in the computer software.
..computer software must:
(a) …appear in the ‘Add/Remove Programs’ menu or any like feature…
(b) be capable of being removed completely using the normal procedures for removing computer software…
(c) in the case of computer software with an advertising feature, include an easily identifiable link clearly associated with each advertisement that the software causes to be displayed, such that selection of the link by the user of the computer generates an on-screen window that informs the user about how to turn off the advertising feature or uninstall the computer software…