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Lavasoft Motivates Swedish Adware Distributors to Change
(March 30, 2007)
Lavasoft holds fast to its founding ideals of creating social change for global Internet security and breaks through in Scandinavia, resulting in a business model change for Swedish companies tracking user behavior via the Internet.
"We work extremely hard at providing a platform for open discussion with Adware vendors, and this is a great victory for our loyal Ad-Aware anti-spyware users around the world", said Lavasoft's CEO, Ann-Christine Akerlund.
In February 2007, Lavasoft security analysts completed an in-depth analysis of 3rd party tracking behavior from the four cookie distributors in Sweden. As a result, 3rd party tracking cookies from three of the four companies, including Research International, were submitted in the Detection Database at Lavasoft, causing widespread disruption to user behavior tracking across several of the country's largest and most visited news and auction web sites.
Lars Nasstrom, with Ecentric.org, is responsible for consolidating statistics from the four companies together for the Kia Index, which is then sold to clients such as advertisers. "It is important for us to address this issue directly and swiftly. I believe it is just a matter of time before other major sites will need to re-evaluate the manner in which they track user statistics."
To date, three of the four cookie distributors in Sweden have transitioned their clients from 3rd party cookies to 1st party cookies. The fourth company, American-owned Nielsen Netratings, is entering discussions with Lavasoft research experts.
"We are interested in the behavior of tracking cookies and their impact on the type of information that can be farmed from individuals through the Internet", stated Lavasoft Security Center Director, Christopher Allansson. "The decision by the first three companies to change their business model from an intrusive 3rd party cookie to a simple 1st party cookie is huge. And we will actively engage with the fourth company to yield the same results."
Lavasoft plans to continue the charge to instill change in the business models of adware, spyware, and malware distributors, and not simply to provide a band-aid solution as is common in this industry. "This victory of facilitating real change in Scandinavia is only the first step. We are in this for the long haul", said Akerlund.
3rd Party Cookies
Sometimes referred to as "persistent cookies", 3rd party cookies track user behavior across web sites. In this way, data is gathered about a user's interests and surfing habits. The information may then be sold to advertisers or spyware distributors who use that information to target users with advertising and other unsolicited information. 1st party cookies are typically viewed as harmless as they simply monitor the movement of a user on a single site. This information in turn is used by the owner of that site to make improvements to the user's experience on that specific site.