Re: RealNetworks is spying on Internet users again

From: Martin Ling (
Date: Tue May 30 2000 - 15:19:57 MDT

On Tue, May 30, 2000 at 04:47:40PM -0400, Ross A. Finlayson wrote:
> I would call that a serious breach, and RealPlayer a serious beatch.
> Do you happen to have copies of their user agreements that we might dissect?

You should be able to obtain these from the Real site.

> Can you describe the technical method used to interface with browser history
> mechanism? Also, what method is used to store this data by RealPlayer, and to
> what destinations, by what protocol, and in what format is this data sent to
> RealPlayer?

Their program takes over from the default downloader applet, and logs
all the transfers it makes. It's not interfacing with the browser
history (but that of course would be an even simpler way to do things -
no technicalities required, just read the file).

> So, in a hypothetical situation where a user gets free software advertised to
> act as a scientific calculator that plays an advertisement, if this software
> then uploads the contents of your unrelated personal finance software without
> permission, then you have been damaged and seeking redress of damages is
> justified.
> The browsers should be made to not permit the export of their history, no?

As I said, not an issue of that.

Anyway, what would you do to stop them? Even on a system with a proper
user permissions system, your programs have the right to read your
files. None of the browsers make efforts to take exclusive control of
the history file - it's always been considered there for general use.


-----[ Martin J. Ling ]-----[ ]-----

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