FEDMA adopts spyware code

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The Federation of European Direct and Interactive Marketing has adopted a code on spyware and other intrusive downloads to help its members avoid unacceptable downloads when marketing online.

FEDMA is the leading European association for online and offline marketing.

"This code, which is very closely based on self-regulation in the U.S., aims to help our members and all others involved in online marketing," said Alastair Tempest, FEDMA director general. "It strongly encourages them not to include intrusive downloads in their Web sites, e-mails or other online communications (that) interfere or surreptitiously 'spy' on consumers. A consumer, or a business, (that) discovers it has unknowingly downloaded intrusive software will lose trust in e-commerce."

The code, available on www.fedma.org, says marketers should not install, have installed or use software or similar technology on a computer or similar device that initiates deceptive practices such as:

• Taking control of a computer (relaying spam and viruses, modem hijacking or endless-loop pop-up ads).

• Deceptively modifying or disabling security or browser settings.

• Preventing the user's efforts to disable or uninstall the software.

Anyone offering software that is installed on a computer or similar device for marketing purposes should:

• Give the user clear, conspicuous notice and choice at the point of joining a service or before the software begins operating, including notice of effects of having the software installed.

• Give the user an easy means to uninstall the software or disable all functionality.

• Give an easily accessible link to a privacy policy.

• Give clear identification of the software's name and company information and the ability to contact that company.

FEDMA also has revised its teleservices code.

"New practices and technologies, such as predictive dialers, needed to be included," Mr. Tempest said. "We are positively aware of the need to encourage best practices and avoid unwanted calling, or silent calls, caused by badly set predictive dialers." 

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