Participants in a regular YouGov survey were recently confronted with an odd request to download software that would track users' surfing habits. The July edition of the monthly Oracle (as in prediction) survey asked question about recipients' work and employer before concluding with an internet tracking punt that smelled of …
Smells like a rat..
"international project that its US office was running on behalf of a (unnamed) client"
Phorm alert perhaps?
Did they not offer chocolate to participants?
"on behalf of a (unnamed) client. "
I think I saw that survey. Normally I don't bother with the oracle surveys as they only offer a prize draw rather than actual credit. Unusually I looked at doing this one, got as far as "who's your employer?" and aborted. They don't get that level of information in exchange for entry to a prize draw.
Good job I bailed, not that I would have downloaded it anyway...
hackers and the fd crew
So pretty much everyone on full disclosure would have signed up as well as a lot of hackers who want early access to any real tracking sofwtare so they can find loopholes and/or generate viabale fake downloads/upgrades.
I wonder how many of the rest were either just plain curious and wanted to see what it would do in a protected vz or just wated the download but had no intention of installing.
FYI: I have downloaded lots of software that has failed sanity checks and never made it to live install.
It is for Nielsen - i used to run these projects for another provider.
It is that which is feeding this: http://en-us.nielsen.com/content/nielsen/en_us/product_families/nielsen_netratings.html
Please tell me this isn't another non-story!?!
"got as far as "who's your employer?" and aborted. "
"retired" usually results in a much shorter survey for the same number of points
Sounds like a fairly standard sign-up for comScore software. As the Reg noted a couple of years back (I think), CS software is picked up as spyware in some cases, and the way in which they invite people onto their panel is through offers such as this. Previously ComScore's software has been available in packages of freeware and suchlike; this sounds a lot like them.
"duh! yea, duh ok!! yeah i want da gubbermint to record what i does on da net! duhhhhh!"
FFS, then again AV and anti-spyware is a massive business so somebody must be clicing on those dodgy porn ads and pulling all that malware down!
What do you think the government has got to do with this? Are you one of the tin foil hat brigade who assume that everything is run by "the man"?
At least your powers that be...
...actually have the decency to ask. Not like our government here in the People's Nanny State Republic of Ausfailia, who just chuck out laws requiring ISPs to retain all emails and user data for 10 years for police fishing expeditions without even giving a fuck whether people want it or not.
Privacy is Highly Valued
You would have to be an absolute fool to consent to your internet activities being monitored. I always ask ISPs before I take a contract out if they will be monitoring internet usage and would never consent to be monitored. Crazy old world at times, who the hell is going to consent?
F. O. A. D.
They are all at it
I got a similar proposition from another UK based market research company Valued Opinions, who usually offer between £0.50 and £1 for a survey but on this occasion were offering £2 for the survey and download and another £3 if you completed the "trial", which was for one month. I filled the survey full of interesting answers and gave a full and probably rather too frank reason for why I would not be participating. They were very specific in requesting that it HAD to be your home family computer, so they could monitor all users.
YouGov's founder and until recently CEO is now Tory MP for Stratford-upon-Avon, as a result of the local party rolling over when Central Office came looking for a safe seat. According to Private Eye, he's big mates with Jeffrey Archer. None of this, of course, implies anything about how much you can trust YouGov.
Wouldn't surprise me if they're punting their nasty stuff to paranoid governments. Also wouldn't surprise me if our lot took it on.
How many said yes?
Who has the connections to tell us that one?
They did offer a download...
I completed the survey, and they DID offer a download called PanelApp_installer_pa_YS_en.msi. So YouGov's claim that "no software was actually offered" is definitely false.
I installed it on a clean test machine. It installs a file called PanelSvc.exe to \Program Files\YouGov\PanelApp, but I don't see any strange connections via netstat afterwards.
I've also tried to extract the contents and it says the archive is corrupt.
Would anyone else be interested in trying to analyse what it does?