StopBadware labels RealPlayer as badware

badwareStopBadware.org, the consumer protection initiative backed by the Berkman Center and the Oxford Internet Institute, today released an alert declaring RealPlayer to be badware.

The group found inadequate disclosure of advertising behavior on RealPlayer v. 10.5 and that RealPlayer v. 11 bundles an additional application without disclosure.

The report notes:

Software does not fully, accurately, clearly, and conspicuously disclose the principal and significant features and functionality of the application prior to installation (guideline II.A.a.iii.)
The advertising software bundled with RealPlayer is misleadingly called a ‘message center’, and is described incompletely and inconspicuously in the EULA as software designed to provide useful software updates. When RealPlayer 10.5 is installed, the advertising features of this ‘message center’ are enabled by default for users who choose not to register their personal information with RealNetworks after the software is installed.

Software which installs deceptively (guideline III.A.)
RealPlayer 11 does not disclose that it installs Rhapsody Player Engine, and does not remove this software when RealPlayer is uninstalled. Users are not informed by the installer or uninstaller of the connection between RealNetworks and Rhapsody Player Engine.

The report concludes:

We currently recommend that users do not install the versions of RealPlayer that we tested, unless the user is comfortable with the software behaviors we identify or until the application is updated to be consistent with the recommendations in this report.
This alert represents StopBadware’s findings during our initial testing period. Additional badware behaviors that were not initially detected may exist in the application.

About joly

isoc member since 1995

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