LONG-STANDING favourite junk files cleaner CCleaner has been called out once again as it adds more unwelcome payloads to its latest build.
Maker Piriform was bought by anti-virus company Avast last year and since, users have been complaining of the product going downhill, with 'malware', advertising and other irritating stuff creeping in.
But in this latest build, things get a great deal more Machiavellian as 'active monitoring' is effectively putting spyware in your machine.
BetaNews first spotted the issue - a new telemetry setting that the Changelog describes thusly: "CCleaner now sends a heartbeat every 12 hours which reports up-to-date usage statistics to allow for faster delivery of bug fixes and product improvements"
Waaaaaaah. So a permanent background process that's constantly telling Piriform that your computer is on, possibly more?
But that's not all. Active Monitoring, which collects even more data, is supposed to be an opt-in thing - you'd think that would be obvious after all that GDPR malarky.
But apparently, when you turn it off, it turns itself back on. Hardly optional, is it?
Piriform has a robust defence, as you would expect: "This data is completely anonymous, and through collecting it we can rapidly detect bugs, identify pain points in the UI design and also understand which areas of functionality we should be focusing our time on.
"Most modern software companies collect anonymous usage data as it is very helpful when prioritizing bug fixes and future improvements in the product experience.
For example, we can see that many of our users have upgraded to the Professional edition but have never switched on the 'scheduled cleaning', which is one of the main benefits of the paid product. From this, we know we need to work harder to make this paid-for feature more obvious in the CCleaner UI."
Argh! No, you don't! You literally, totally, of course, you don't-don't.
If you wanted you could always put in a pop-up saying "do you know about regular cleaning" on first install. Don't frickin' spy on people and say it's for their benefit.
"CCleaner does not collect any personal data. Some of you told us that you do not want to share even anonymous usage data. After listening to your feedback we realize we need to provide you with a better level of control for anonymous data collection," the company adds.
"In the interests of transparency, we'll also share a fact sheet outlining what data we collect, its purpose and how it is processed. We're also taking the opportunity to redesign the data settings within CCleaner so they are communicated in a clear and easy to understand way. Building and testing software sometimes takes a little time to get right, but we are working hard to release our next version as soon as possible."
One suggestion is that Piriform will change the Active Monitoring option to give in a more appropriate name. Because as we all know, changing the name of something soon makes us forget what it is.
Piriform will, therefore, be rolling out CCleaner complete with "Always-on User Experience Real-Time Fluffy Kitten Stroker" (probably) in the next few weeks.
Sigh. Such a shame. Seems Piriform has in the very literal sense, sold out. μ
So that's why she's smiling…
How many Zuckbucks to the pound?
Alexa, is this exploitation?