I’m still occasionally asked why tech support people hate America Online. Here’s part of the answer.

StopBadware.org evaluates software to determine if it presents any risks to your computer or your privacy. It is funded by major tech companies – Google, Lenovo Group, Sun Microsystems – and runs out of well-respected departments at Harvard and Oxford. It recently concluded that AOL 9.0 is badware for many reasons, each of which is fully described in the report:

  • Installs additional software without disclosure (Deceptive installation).
  • Forces users to take an action (Interferes with computer use).
  • Adds AOL toolbar in Internet Explorer (Makes changes to other software without disclosure).
  • Adds additional icons to default Internet Explorer toolbar (Makes changes to other software without disclosure).
  • Adds to “Favorites” in Internet Explorer (Modifies other software without disclosure).
  • Adds AOL Deskbar to the user’s taskbar (Modifies other software without disclosure).
  • Updates software automatically (Deceptive installation).
  • Fails to uninstall software completely (Unacceptable uninstallation).
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