Confusing Washinton Post article insinuates that Apple’s iTunes delivers adware

Today, The Arizona Republic has reprinted an article (headlined: “Danger accompanies music downloads”) by Don Oldenburg, Washington Post Staff Writer, that was originally published by The Post on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 under the headline, “Trouble Can Be Downloaded Along With Music.”

Oldenburg’s article contains this passage:

…Technology-security experts warn that many owners of MP3 players don’t know what dangers lurk behind some music.

“The risk has skyrocketed,” says Kraig Lane, group product manager at Symantec, a maker of computer-security products. “The bad guys are putting evil agents into music files and even videos that we are downloading. Music files especially. And you don’t know it’s there.”

The big problem is that some music services deliver something in addition to free software and music. They sneak in adware or, worse, viruses and spyware. Particularly suspect are the free and legally questionable peer-to-peer (P2P) file-swapping networks such as Kazaa, BearShare and LimeWire, that connect millions of home-computer users.

Even reputable online music stores sometimes install adware. Considered the most benign of such programs, adware hides in the background of a computer to track user online behavior and report it to advertising companies so they can target ads. The practice is legal, and users often grant tacit permission to receive it when accepting licensing agreements at Web sites.

Such downloading has become big business for those sites. Apple reports that music fans have downloaded more than 200 million songs from its iTunes Music Store since its launch in 2003. Featuring more than 1 million tracks at 99 cents each, iTunes now sells nearly 5 million songs a week.

Full Arizona Republic reprint here and link to the original Washington Post article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The original Post article comes complete with a photo of an Apple iPod U2 Special Edition (incorrected credited: “Rio Audio Via AP”) along with the caption, “Digital devices such as the Apple iPod U2 Special Edition allow their owners to play music files downloaded from the Internet, but experts warn that those downloads may contain more than just a favorite song.”

If your average Joe read this article, what impression would he come away with regarding Apple’s iTunes Music Store? Would he read it and understand that some files on P2P file-swapping networks can contain “adware, viruses, and/or spyware?” Or would he come away with the wrong idea and think that the same “evil agents” lurk within files purchased from Apple’s iTunes Music Store. What do you think?

So, was the writer Don Oldenburg uncertain about the facts, or was his intent to create uncertainty about Apple’s iTunes Music Store, or did his editor chop up a perfectly logical article into the complete mess we see today, or perhaps something entirely different?

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Windows Media songs and videos found to carry Windows malware payloads– December 30, 2004


  1. Sounds like the RIAA is paying off some journalists to spread fear and mis-information to discourage the use of digital files and hopefully stimulate more CD sales.

  2. Thanks Gary. I find myself in good company with Washington, Jefferson, Paul Revere and the rest.

    Oh, and by the way, I volunteer for the firing squad.

  3. You liberal commies are something else. Ok Mr. proud to be with Washington, Jefferson, etc.’s company, how many people died in the War of Independence jack ass? What George Bush has done is make the world a better place and put the terrorists on the run. I know that bothers you liberal-eurotrash-commie-terrorist lovers but us majority people love George Bush!!!!

  4. Hey Mark,

    I’d ask you to get your head out of your ass, but you would have to get it out of the chimps in the white house first.

    brought to you by the mw probably as in you probably are stupid.

  5. Adware. LOL, I said LOL.

    iTunes is the Adware, or ‘Evil Agent’ and people are Choosing to install it.
    This program forces you to visit an ‘evil agent’ online called itms every time you wish to buy music. The deceptive ease of use of these ‘evil agents’ will trick many unsuspecting windows users into purchasing more of the products from this company.
    One day that will include a Mac and the ease of use will continue to trick them into buying more and more and more of this companies wares. ‘evil agents’ will consume their lives.
    This ‘virus’ is so virulent it is leaving our computers and spreading in the wild like a real virus, through the air, via something known as ‘word of mouth’
    It must be stopped before it infects us all.

    Warning, this virus is not new.
    I myself have been a carrier since the late eighties and now consider myself to be one of these ‘evil agents’, a member of Apple’s evil army. Doing their bidding against my will.
    The means of transmission are growing, it wont be long now. There is no cure.

    Secret word ‘give’ as in GIVE your desktop to me. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Funny… as I clicked on the link to get to this site (MacDailyNews) to read about how a “Confusing Washinton Post article insinuates that Apple’s iTunes delivers adware” a pop-up ad for Amer.Expr. popped-up. Thanks.

  7. The sad thing is patient x or whatever that losers name is knows Bush was right and is making great things happen in the world. The only reason he could be against it is if he’s a terrorist.

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