FC: Gator software reportedly spies on users, company stonewalls

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Thu Sep 06 2001 - 09:17:15 PDT

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    Latest Gator privacy statement:
    Below message forwarded with Ian's permission. I invite Gator 
    representatives (copied above) to reply.
    From: Ian Hiebert <ihiebertat_private>
    To: "'sginsburgat_private'" <sginsburgat_private>
    Cc: "'declanat_private'" <declanat_private>
    Subject: RE: Gator Sues Interactive Advertising Bureau -- IAB --
    Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2001 11:22:30 -0700
    Just in case anyone is interested, we have had serious issues with the 
    Gator software on our networks and have banned it's use completely & 
    blocked all of Gator's servers & websites! We found that in addition to 
    having a vague declaration in the EULA of what the Gator software actually 
    does, ( most of our users were quite surprised when they were told ) we 
    found when monitoring our network traffic that the gator software 
    continually sends data from the users PC to their servers ( and to 3rd 
    party servers not owned by Gator.com )even when they weren't browsing the 
    web. When we contacted Gator about this we asked to speak to an engineer 
    but instead were contacted by someone in their PR dept. who simply quoted 
    the information contained in the EULA. Not satisfied with that, we 
    continued testing & discovered through packet capture & decoding that the 
    software searches & sends not only Gator cookies, but other companies 
    cookies to their servers as well. We then contacted about this, and have 
    not received a response to date !
    We realize there are other companies doing this, but none have been as 
    vocal in denying their software's underhanded activity as Gator.com has 
    been. We will continue to block Gator.com & its associated servers, and 
    their advertisers, and any other web tricks they come up on all our 
    corporate networks, & urge others to do the same until Gator.com & others 
    like it get the message.
       - "If they want to use our networks for advertising & market research, 
    they need to get our permission first & they need to start compensating us 
    for it !"
    Thank you -
    Ian Hiebert
    IT Manager
    British Motor Car Distributors, LTD.
    Qvale Automotive Group
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