The problems caused by badware have very serious implications, both for every day use of computers, and for the long-term viability of the open Internet. On Jan. 25, 2006, the Berkman Center, the Oxford Internet Institute, Consumer Reports WebWatch, and a wide range of corporate sponsors announced the StopBadware.org initiative, a project aimed at stopping the creation of badware – a.k.a. spyware, malware, or deceptive adware.
In the short term, the goals of the project are ambitious but straightforward – create a community of anti-badware volunteers and researchers who will collaborate to create a clearinghouse of data and research on badware, and share that data with the world. The project Web site is http:// www.StopBadware.org. The project also will investigate the possibilities of creating a kind of “software stethoscope,” which when installed by millions of users would give a global peak into the health of the Internet and the PCs connected to it.