Netscape Phones Home
March 9, 2002 8:12 AM   Subscribe

Netscape Phones Home Yet another major software vendor snoops on users. Netscape, the former darling of the anti-Microsoft movement, captures search terms that users enter on third party sites if users have set the search tab in the sidebar to load a site other than Netscape's own search engine and sends information back to Netscape. Can you trust your own system anymore?
posted by srboisvert (6 comments total)
I prefer not to trust anything i can't talk to (for the smartasses out there, the microphone doesn't count for me)
This also makes me curious...I use ZoneAlarm, and don't allow Windows Media Player access to the Internet. Sinse WMP is supossed to send what I watch back to Microsoft, would that stop that snooping?
posted by jmd82 at 8:50 AM on March 9, 2002

Use mozilla. Like Netscape 6 but without the whole AOL thing getting in the way. And please lets not get into the whole 'Netscape sux' thing we normally have at this point.

Isn't this just a simple forwarding the information, like an IP address is in the browser headers (the build number etc)?Personally I don't mind anonymised data being used to actually pay for my 'free' browser. If they were actually profiling people and targeting stuff based on that then i might get a bit more concerned.
posted by nedrichards at 9:22 AM on March 9, 2002

Like I need another reason not to use Netscape.

That said, MSIE does the same thing -- every once in a while when you start it up, it will get in touch with a microsoft site and send in version information, I believe with an IP address.
posted by precipice at 12:09 PM on March 9, 2002

If you check in your IE options, precipice, you'll probably find that you've got your IE set to check for new versions on startup .. it's a default setting.. so that's probably what it's doing.

That said, when I was prompted to download the most recent version of IE, I did, and when I rebooted, I discovered (thanks to AdAware) that a new line for Alexa had been added to my registry without me knowing about it.

Arguably not spyware, still... I'd prefer to know what I install and what I don't. You probably do, too.
posted by crunchland at 1:20 PM on March 9, 2002

I'm not too surprised:

Netscape comes out with a browser: geeks rejoice.
Netscape laughs at web standards: geeks complain
Netscape for linux appears: geeks rejoice
Netscape 6 spies: geeks complain

The software industry really needs a "privacy stamp of approval" especially for free software. I'd like to be presented with what goes on with my internet connection and my personal information in non-legalese before I even begin the download or buy the software. Free software will always have a catch (at least non open source), but a big bold "Spyware Inside" sticker is really needed, so I can know what to avoid.

There's something just wrong with finding out what's going on with your personal info by reading about it in some article months after you installed the software or having adaware telling you in an AOL voice, "You've got CyDoor!"
posted by skallas at 2:38 PM on March 9, 2002

don't allow Windows Media Player access to the Internet.

As an aside, this doesn't work for me, since I use WMP for streaming media too. (None of that WMA license crap, though - I won't give in to that... but video streams, yes... although with video playback in Winamp supporting all the codecs I just might be able to ditch it for good... but I'm digressing from a digression.) So I just manually accept or reject whatever connections it tries to make.
posted by azazello at 10:40 PM on March 10, 2002

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