EULAlyzer – A Free Tool To Help “Uncomplicate” End User License Agreements

imageI’ve always considered that reading a EULA (End User License Agreement), is sort of like reading the phone book; and who reads a phone book?

I must admit that I get bored and distracted when reading EULA text; especially since I’m forced to read reams of small text, in a small window, which requires me to scroll continuously. I suspect, I’m not alone in this, and that most people just skim over the text; or more to the point – don’t bother reading the EULA at all.

However, there’s a downside risk in not reading the EULA carefully. By not reading the EULA carefully, we may let ourselves in for some unwelcome, annoying, and potentially dangerous surprises.

One of the most important aspects of any software license agreement is, the information it provides concerning the intentions of the software, and whether there are additional components bundled with the main application.

Additional components that could potentially display pop-up ads, transmit personal identifiable information back to the developer, or use unique tracking identifiers.

Not all software applications contain these additional components of course, but you need to be aware of those that do when you are considering installing an application.

Software developers who choose to employ these tools (to gather information for example), are generally not underhanded, and in most cases there is full disclosure of their intent contained in the EULA. But here’s the rub – virtually no one reads EULAs.

EULAlyzer, a free application from BrightFort (formerly: Javacool Software), the SpywareBlaster developer, can make reading and analyzing license agreements, while not a pleasure, at least not as painful.

This free application quickly scans a EULA, and points out words, statements, and phrases, that you need to consider carefully. Results are rated by “Interest Level” and organized by category, so it’s easy to zero-in on the issue that concern you the most.

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Working similar to an anti-spyware program, EULAlyzer flags suspicious wording on a scale of 1 to 10 – based on how critical the disclosed information can be to your security, or privacy.

Let’s take a look at the license agreement for Piriform’s CCleaner.

You’ll note that there three areas of limited concern that have been flagged – as shown in the screen shot, below. Clicking on “Goto” icon will expand the related wording.

I’m very familiar with Piriform’s freeware applications – nevertheless, as is my habit, I read the EULA carefully.

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Let’s take a look at the license agreement for GOM Audio Player.

Again, EULAlyzer has flagged a number of issues – but, in this case, these are issues that I considered very carefully before installation this application.

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If you, like me, download freeware frequently, then you need to read the software license agreement carefully. EULAlyzer will make it easier for you to focus on the important aspects of the agreement.

There is no doubt that we could all use a little help in working our way through these wordy, but necessary agreements. The reality is, all software EULAs should be read carefully.

Fast facts:

Discover potentially hidden behavior about the software you’re going to install.

Pick up on things you missed when reading license agreements.

Keep a saved database of the license agreements you view.

Instant results – super-fast analysis in just a second.

EULAlyzer makes it simple to instantly identify highly interesting and important parts of license agreements, privacy policies, and other similar documents, including language that deals with:

Advertising

Tracking

Data Collection

Privacy-Related Concerns

Installation of Third-Party or Additional Software

Inclusion of External Agreements By Reference

Potentially Suspicious Clauses

and, much more…

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8.

Download at: Major Geeks

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12 Comments

Filed under Don't Get Scammed, downloads, Freeware, Software, Utilities

12 responses to “EULAlyzer – A Free Tool To Help “Uncomplicate” End User License Agreements

  1. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    I downloaded this following your previous recommendation and now never install new software without using it. OK, I’ve never stopped an installation because of what it’s found, but at least I’m making informed decisions; so much better than the other kind :).

    Kind regards
    John

    • Hi John,

      That’s a nice clean record. :) I certainly take your point – “but at least I’m making informed decisions; so much better than the other kind.) And that’s the issue, isn’t it?

      Recently stopped a friend’s house who had 2 Toolbars added to his Browser. He wanted to know of course, how that happened. The simple answer – “you allowed it.” Totally denied he had done any such thing. But we know better. :)

      Best,

      Bill

      • John Bent

        Hi Bill,

        As we’ve said before, the key to avoiding toolbars is always to go for the “advanced” installation option. Maybe that’s why I have a clean record.

        Kind regards
        John

        • Hi John,

          For sure – “always go for the “advanced” installation option.” The usual good advice from you, Sir.

          A wee bit of a problem with the connotation attached to “advanced”, at least for the average user. It can often scare the hell out of them.

          There’s nothing advanced (generally) about this option, as you know. But, it certainly serves the needs of developers by effectively closing this door to a less experienced user. The world has its fair share of misdirection – this is just another sad example.

          Best,

          Bill

  2. BillyJoBob

    Looking forward to using this as time goes on. The first thing it analyzed was itself, found no red flags in EULAlyzer. Sooner or later a CNET DL will occur and it can go into hyperdrive

    Thanks
    BJB

  3. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    Like John, I have used this for a couple of years now, on your advice. I also hit the supposedly advanced options when installing, usually it contains a couple of check boxes to install crap, Which I of course uncheck.

    Cheers
    Mal

  4. Mark Schneider

    Hi Bill,
    Great idea, I hate EULA’s but your right, they often contain “got ya’s” and they are deliberately written by lawyers so that only a lawyer would read them or understand them. I see they also make some antispyware applications I’d used a while back.
    Thanks for the recommendation.
    Go Niners!
    Mark

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