Claria Spyware Controversy

One company that has been at the center of the spyware controversy for years is Claria Corporation, well known for serving targeted advertisements to more than 40 million computer users.  Critics have stated that this vendor does not fully disclose to users that data is being collected and how it is to be used.  Many of these issues were found in the Kazaa file sharing program, an application that includes the Claria software.  In this article, we will overview the Claria program and touch on a few of the characteristics that constitute spyware. 


Upon installing the program, the installation wizard states that Claria will display advertisements based on the sites a user visits on the internet.  The wizard does not state that it will monitor every site a user visits and report that data back to the vendor's database as long as the software is functioning.  However, this information is clarified in a detailed EULA (End-User License Agreement), which is read by very few users.  The EULA gives Claria the right to track and report back information regarding all of the programs on your computer, along with the first four digits of your credit card number, allowing them to know what institution you bank at.  The installation wizard does not disclose the fact that the monitoring function of the application may also run when the useful part of the program is shutdown or disabled. 

Another huge concern of the public was the fact that the users were forbidden to remove Claria software with anti-virus or anti-spyware software.  According to the EULA, the only way a user was permitted to remove the program was by using the "Add/Remove Programs" utility in the Microsoft Windows operating system. 

Additionally, the EULA does not fully disclose as to what data the Claria Corporation actually collects.  Many users were outraged that the program captured sensitive data that could be potentially used to commit internet crimes.  Scott Eagle, the company's Chief Marketing Officer, claims that the only information Claria collects now is behavior of "commercial intent" - referring to product research and shopping online.  Eagle went on to claim that the data is filed by an anonymous computer identification number and does not collect email addresses, usernames, zipcodes or complete credit card numbers.  

Removal of Claria

Like many types of spyware and adware, the Claria software doesn't completely uninstall after using the "Add/Remove programs" utility.  It leaves behind various files and programs such as GAIN, that lead back to the company's network, along with several fragments that can only be cleaned up by a registry cleaning application.  Scott Eagle states that GAIN is a separate add-delivery program that only collects non-personal user data and automatically uninstalls itself after all traces of Claria are completely removed.    

Claria Today

Once coined as the king of spyware, Claria exited the adware business in 2006, putting an end to it's pop-up ad campaign.  PersonalWeb and Axon, Claria's new products, offer personalized web pages to users while providing them with advertisements and relative content based on searching habits and web browsing behavior.   While the company stresses a huge difference in how these programs collect data, they sound rather similar to the spyware that stirred up major concerns.  In order to reduce the chance of having your personal data collected, the best advice is to stay away from products by the Claria Corporation.  


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Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person\92s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person\92s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information
*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet
*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.