MP3 search site pushes spyware, watchdogs say

A Web site that gives users the ability to search for MP3s contains programs that behave like spyware, according to the Center for Democracy and Technology and StopBadware.org.

Music seekers should be cautious when visiting the FastMP3Search.com.ar Web site, according to the Center for Democracy and Technology and StopBadware.org. The antispyware watchdogs say the MP3 search site contains programs that behave like spyware.

"After testing a random sampling of the site's content, we have determined … content on this Web site is bundled with several components that reportedly behave as a Trojan horse. Installation of this Trojan horse is not disclosed to the user," StopBadware.org said on its Web site.

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StopBadware.org recommended Web surfers steer clear of the site. Meanwhile, the organization has teamed up with the Center for Democracy and Technology -- home of the Anti-Spyware Coalition -- in asking the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to act against the site. According to published reports, the groups will file a joint complaint with the FTC Thursday.

StopBadware.org is an alliance of tech vendors, consumer groups and other entities that formed in January to fight the rising tide of spyware.

The group publishes the names of companies it considers the worst offenders, showing how they make money through unethical marketing practices and fraud. Members include search engine giant Google Inc., PC maker Lenovo, Sun Microsystems Inc., Consumer Reports' WebWatch project, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and the Oxford Internet Institute in England.

The Center for Democracy and Technology teamed up with several tech firms and security organizations last year to form the Anti-Spyware Coalition. One of its first tasks was to hammer out guidelines to determine which programs should be labeled as spyware.

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