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Vendors exit anti-spyware group

Bunfight after reformed adware firm joins Coast

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An anti-spyware consortium is on the verge of collapse after admitting 180solutions, the controversial adware firm. to its ranks. CA, Alluria and Webroot, all founding members of the Consortium of Anti-Spyware Technology vendors (Coast) have resigned, citing a lack of faith in its ability to develop effective anti-spyware standards.

180solutions, which describes itself as a provider of search marketing solutions, was allowed to join as a developer member of Coast, despite controversy over its permission-based search assistant applications. CA (here and other vendors (such as McAfee here) describe 180solutions software as adware. 180solutions said that the adware accusation, which it contests, are in any case outdated after it modified its software and agreed to sign up to Coast's code of conduct.

Coast's stance over 180solutions has failed to placate internet critics and acted as a lightening rod for discontent over the direction the organisation is taking more generally. "We are withdrawing from Coast because we believe the organization no longer has the ability to create a consensus for effective anti-spyware standards," Sam Curry, vice president of eTrust security management at CA, said in a statement.

CA, which acquired anti-spyware firm PestPatrol in August 2004, said it will continue to work with other vendors and researchers to develop security standards outside of the Coast group. Aluria and Webroot both issued statements giving similar reasons for their exit from Coast and commitments to work together with other anti-spware suppliers. Alluria said "Coast was slow moving in setting standards", while Webroot said "Coast is moving in a direction with which we cannot agree".

Coast's ranks have been substantially depleted by the exodus of CA et al, raising questions about its long-term viability. Remaining members of Coast include security vendor NoAdware.Net and software developer New.Net. ®

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