August 20th, 2009 at 11:20 pm (Fruit Bats)
As of the date of this post, the website is subject to the iron-fisted pre-emptive actions of what is called the Badware Website Clearinghouse. In a partnership with Google, they seek out websites that could be potentially harmful to visitors in terms of hardware, software, and data. They’ve peremptorily branded this site as a badware site. Who are these people?
StopBadware.org seeks to provide reliable, objective information about downloadable applications in order to help consumers to make better choices about what they download on to their computers. They aim to become a central clearinghouse for research on badware and the bad actors who spread it, and to become a focal point for developing collaborative, community-minded approaches to stopping badware.
The Badware Website Clearinghouse currently has more than 182 thousand reported URLs. You can search the URLs that have been reported to them by their partners and view statistics from their top clearinghouse pages. If you are a site owner and you are flagged by Google and you would like StopBadware.org to review the inclusion of your website in the Badware Website Clearinghouse, you can request a review by filling out their form.
Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Oxford University’s Oxford Internet Institute are leading this initiative with the support of several prominent tech companies, including Google, Lenovo, and Sun Microsystems. Consumer Reports WebWatch is serving as an unpaid special advisor.
John Palfrey, Executive Director of the Berkman Center and Harvard Clinical Professor of Law, and Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard Law Visiting Professor and Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford University (who not long ago wrote his best seller “The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It”), are StopBadware.org co-directors. The Advisory Board also has some “big names” like for example Vinton G. Cerf, who is vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google. But he is more known as one of the “Fathers of the Internet,” he is the co-designer of the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet.
In other words, they’re really big shots in the industry.
Their intentions may be sincere and aboveboard, but the execution of their mission is not all it’s cut out to be. For one thing, there’s no early warning that a site is being targeted by them. They just swoop down and strap a boot to the wheel, without so much as a by your leave. In most cases, webmasters are not aware their wards are under attack, but they pay the price of being locked out by an organization acting as law enforcer, judge, and jury, all in one go and with equal stealth.
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