So there’s this new startup called NebuAd. I know, sounds promising already, right? Well, NebuAd does packet inspection, tracking users, the sites they go to, the ads they click, and so on. Not such a big deal, I’d say, but of course that’s just their side of the story.
It seems that NebuAd is really the latest incarnation of Gator/Gain/Claria, the well-known but chameleonic spyware company. NebuAd actually started separately but has five Gator “old boys” in its mix, and its activities speak for themselves: they don’t just track the packets, they alter them or add entirely new ones.
They say it’s in the interest of the consumer and that you can have your data deleted at any time, but we’ve heard that before. And since NebuAd deals directly with ISPs, you never have to opt into the program, unlike Gator for example which people were fooled into installing. This unsolicited packet modification “breaks the rules of acceptable behavior on the Internet” according to a report by public interest group Public Knowledge. Not that that stopped anyone before.
Unfortunately, these companies have always excelled in doublespeak and loopholes, so as long as there is any slight doubt of the illegal nature of their actions, they will continue to boldly spy and manipulate innocent netizens.