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Read the EULA

If you download a lot of software, it can be tempting to just skip over the End User License Agreement without actually reading it. This is not a good habit to get into. Some programs have some pretty dubious conditions of use hidden in the legalese of their EULA's. For example, by digitally signing the EULA, you may have given the application developers explicit permission to collect information such as surfing habits and transmit it back to their servers. In other words, you may inadvertently give permission for intrusive, and sometimes unstable, adware to be installed on your computer. If this intention to collect information from end users is not mentioned in the EULA, then the program can be thought of as containing spyware, although the end result is the same. Furthermore, anti-spyware scanners such as Ad-Aware will not always flag information-gathering components if their existence has been noted in a EULA.

Of course, in some cases, you may be quite willing to allow software components to collect information from your computer in exchange for using a program for free. However, it is important that you know about the components before you install the software, hence a thorough reading of the EULA is worth the effort.

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen

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