AOL Is SpywareMarch 8, 2008 – 3:48 PM
Many people go on about AOL’s software being spyware. To be sure, I’ve heard hundreds of times that the advertising AOL members see often begins to reflect their style of web surfing. Someone who visits many car racing or hobbyist sites will notice that the AOL advertising tends to be car-related after a while. There is also the matter of some AOL software tampering with Internet Explorer security settings by adding an AOL web server to the “Trusted Zone”. Still, I’ve never agreed that it was spyware – until now.
AOL’s newest software is specifically designed to be used as surveillance spyware. The intention, while misguided, is good. It is listed as a parental control and allows the “Master User” to monitor the internet usage of every other user. The software creates reports of other users’ web surfing, emails and instant messaging activity. I don’t know if it also takes screenshots. If it doesn’t, that is just about the only feature missing that is found in most commercial spyware products.
While this is billed as a “parental control”, anyone could use this feature to spy on you if you use AOL. Anyone with the “Master” account’s password can turn on this feature and spy on anyone else using that computer. This can even be done remotely, so the person doesn’t have to be right there in the house. If you use AOL, you had better check to make sure someone isn’t using it to spy on you.