Surreptitious reporting...

Subject: Surreptitious reporting...
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2009 16:32:38 +0300

I'm afraid I must side with the majority on this one. With all the
security problems out there, if ANY application was trying to collect
any data without my express knowledge and permission, I would wonder
what else it might be collecting despite the protestations of the
vendor.

While my firewall would catch it, the vendor would also catch my
demand for a refund and, quite possibly, a lawsuit and more probably
an FTC complaint.

Personally, I want to know and agree any time an application wants to
send data anywhere. Companies like Microsoft love this sort of thing,
yet their track record for security is abysmal--to take just one
example. Their "security center" complains about a "possible security
issue" every time I boot into Windows simply because I will not enable
automatic updates--yet they themselves are a major source of problems
with gaping security holes like Active X, to give just one example.

If you work with a large organization, ask your IT security folks what
they think about a piece of software that is set to send data about
use to the vendor without the knowledge or assent of the company. I
suspect you have better than even chances they will be adverse to the
idea.

Even if the intent of the software was benign, it is so outrageous on
its face (from the customer's perspective) that I would seriously
question the judgment of the company and its product managers who has
pushed this.

I cannot see any reason at all why it should not be totally voluntary
on an opt-in basis after being fully disclosed to the customer.

MadCap's part of all this lies in enabling it in any way that may not
require such advance disclosure and permission.

However, remember it isn't MadCap's liability so much as it is any
company's who produces online help using this tool and sells it into
the marketplace.

David
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