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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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