By Robin Laudanski
March 11, 2006
Most major companies have a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics. Most of them also provide an anonymous line to call and make complaints through. One would think if you were to uncover an executive misrepresenting himself, action would be taken almost immediately. One would also think if an executive were making defamatory statements action would again be taken. Recent experience has taught me this is not so.
Earthlink has a 16 page Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (CBCE) which they require their employees to acknowledge and agree to by signing. Throughout this article I’ll be posting snippets from Earthlink’s CBCE as reference points, I will include a section reference in brackets as applicable.
I was sorely disappointed by the responses by representatives of Earthlink when reading through the post entries placed by Rick Carlson, one time President of Aluria, who is currently a (soon to be former) VP of Earthlink at SpywareWarrior in regard to Robin’s (CastleCops) earlier piece entitled “Aluria Trys To Whitewash The WhenU Fiasco” on an Aluria WhenU page that was there one day and gone the next – and it went away while she in the midst of writing the piece — now that’s spooky. (Sounds more like someone saw that someone accessed that page and realized, oh! No! We don’t want anyone associating Aluria’s old misstep regarding WhenU being Certified Spyware Free with Earthlink’s Aluria because they want to change the image. So they removed it.)
None of the political/corporate double speak cleared could possibly clear the air.
Only truth can do that.
If Earthlink wants a clean slate, they need to fix their scanner programs (ASC 4.0 and the lite online scanner) so it detects products correctly.
They need to be upfront about why the Aluria database on their site is now empty. Why pages are disappearing that show the previous Aluria owner’s behavior in regard to some of the adware/spyware products.
They need to be totally upfront about their desire to change what was before, and state openly that they want their acquired program to be improved under their hands — to help people get rid of all the unwanted programs — not confuse people by new terms like consumerware with statements like usually free useful programs without referencing what the program actually does do in return for that free product (such as display pop ups, install ad delivery mechanisms and/or website tracking in order to display targeted ads based on the user’s surfing habits, etc.)
They need to be honest in their dealings with Security Specialists who know the truth about Aluria’s past and have proven through deep and long standing research what programs have done and are currently doing, and not basically call them delusional or liars or worse.
If they want to get past this and say that THEIR Aluria antispyware product will never be that kind of program again, they need to say so loud and clear and denounce the old defunct Aluria’s tactics and be honest with the public and with security professionals.
They bought a lemon, a lemon that had some good in it, but which also had a rotten rind, and they need to make some seriously good lemonade or they will be eating their words and wasting their money for years to come.
Their choices can not be blamed on security professionals. They made the decision to buy this lemon. It is their job to make it right.
Sure, Earthlink may have purchased a somewhat ‘decent’ spyware scanner and are obviously trying to make it into something better than it was (albeit it having problems with false positive and not finding some things it should) — but they also purchased Aluria’s President (Rick Carlson), now VP and soon to be ex employee of Earthlink (at the end of the month). Thankfully David Goldstone, in the SpywareWarrior topic was thankful to have the proof of their scanner’s shortcomings and said he would pass it on to the ‘appropriate’ team.
OldFrog likely said it best on page 3 of the topic at SpywareWarrior forums:
Which is certainly the nexus of this topic. Had Earthlink/Auria not attempted to alter/erase the historical record and then been abusive/dissembling/not_forthcoming in their response to questions about those attempts we would not be having this conversation. The issue is entirely about integrity. Historical issues are only important in this discussion to the extent that there have been recent efforts to deny them.
EDIT: Wayne Porter has a great article about this topic where he also reminds us:
America Online was partnered with Aluria at the time and made very clear they did not want any part of that Aluria/WhenU arrangement:
At the time Aluria delisted WhenU, 20 questions were put forth in which they (including Rick) responded: