A group of companies are getting together to make it easier and safer for users to download software without bugs, spyware and adware.
The Trusted Download Program is being backed by AOL, Yahoo, CNET Networks, Computer Associates and others.
The initiative will be begin early next year with the partners distributing software applications certified by web privacy organisation TRUSTe.
“With consumers downloading more and more software, it’s vital to give people real control over what they will allow on their computers,” said TRUSTe.
Spyware and adware can be used to check the internet use of surfers. Marketers can use up the processing power of users’ machines by installing software programs on machines without users’ permission, and malicious attackers can use types of the software to commit fraud.
The Trusted Download Program won't blacklist spyware or adware but will make its distributors explain exactly what it does before users choose to download it.
Users will also have the opportunity to decide which settings on their machine can be changed as a result of using the programs to be downloaded. This includes what user information can be tracked by the distributor.
A list of approved software distributors who work to acceptable standards will also be drawn up.