11:51 AM

Rob Glaser: Pioneer Of Badware Leaves Real Networks

I spent most of today trying to analyze Google's China policy. But I was dying to write about Rob Glaser and his exit as CEO of Real Networks, and to comment that he helped pioneer what today is the dark side of the Internet: malware, spamware, spyware, adware ...

Whatever you call it, these insidious programs that once they were loaded onto your system, they were incredibly difficult to remove. I know people who decided abandoned their PCs because of their frustration in trying to get rid of software that infected their systems and continually pestered them with ads, and worse.

I was glad to see Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York university publish on Twitter: "Rob Glaser steps down as head of Real Networks, and story after story fails to note he ran one of the most invasive malware companies ever."

Mr Rosen helpfully points to this page: StopBadware Report - RealPlayer.

This describes what Real Network's RealPlayer does:

RealPlayer 10.5 fails to adequately disclose the advertising behavior of its 'Message Center', and RealPlayer 11 silently installs the Rhapsody Player Engine, and does not uninstall this additional software when RealPlayer 11 is uninstalled.

Useful info but this is dated January 2008. Real Networks has been doing this since the mid 1990s!

I've stayed away from RealPlayer since my first encounter more than 12 years ago.

Real Networks deserves recognition for figuring out how to exploit open Internet standards, and web browsers, a long, long time ago.

Today we see the fruits of that pioneering effort because our systems are infected by huge amounts of insidious programs. Thank you very much . . . Rob Glaser...