WARNING: The USCF is Radiating software into Your Hard Drive!

On August 2, the USCF announced the much anticipated introduction of online chess playing services for members, with free software provided by KO Interactive, a group brought into the USCF by Executive Board Member Doris Barry.

Many USCF members downloaded the software from the website at http://www.uschesslive.org and installed it into their computer systems, without reading in detail what appears at first to be a standard licensing agreement. These USCF members now have the free software running on their computers.

What they failed to understand is that the licensing agreement which is at http://www.uschesslive.org/User_Agreement.html discloses that the new software uses Radiate technology, which provides information to advertisers. The ads on the USCHESSLIVE.ORG site are not the standard banner ads which can be seen on virtually every website nowadays.

What Radiate does is install ads in your hard drive which you cannot see right away. These ads are stored for later use when you are not online and are not using the USCHESSLIVE website. More than that, once these ads are installed in your computer, they cannot be uninstalled by normal means, although Radiate says that it offers alternative software to help you eradicate it from your hard drive.

Even more than that, Radiate software crawls around in your hard drive and collects information about your viewing habits, which it then radiates back to its advertisers, once you go back online.

In the words of Radiate:

"This Product is advertiser-supported software and incorporates advertisement serving and other technology by Radiate, Inc. Advertiser-supported software creates revenue for software development through the end users' interaction with dynamically delivered advertising and the collection and use of user profile information, enabling software developers to create revenue and allowing end users to download, install and enjoy software products typically without having to pay fees, and providing advertisers and end users the convenience of customized, rather than blanket or repetitive, advertising. NOTICE: Licensed Software incorporated into this Product collects personal information."

Although Radiate claims that its software will not harm your computer, nobody in his right mind is going to allow software to be installed which crawls around in your hard drive in a day when even the most secure and well protected websites have fallen to hackers. Most USCF members would rather pay $50 to join ICC rather than having something they cannot control crawling around in their hard drive.

Radiate used to be called Aureate. Here is what the web site at http://grc.com/oo/aureate.htm says about Aureate:

"Aureate deserved - and continues to deserve today - the "Spyware" moniker not (apparently) because it is sending sensitive personal data out of the user's computer, but because it deliberately slips into the user's system secretly, uses the user's Internet backchannel without the user's knowledge or permission, takes pains to remain secretly installed (instructing its hosting software to leave it installed upon the host's removal), masks its presence by deliberately suspending its use of the backchannel in the absence of keyboard or mouse activity and fails to disclose any of this to the typical user who is never fully informed about what's going on."

"When you add to this the fact that the Aureate software has been conclusively found to be directly responsible for significant Windows system and Internet browser crashes, and that it is able to secretly download and cause Windows to execute any arbitrary program into the unsuspecting user's computer, it is indeed difficult to cut these people much slack."

Radiate calls these claims "false rumours". Here is what it says at: http://www.radiate.com/privacy/falserumors.html :

"In some cases, ads will be delivered to you computer even when the ad-enabled application is not running. In this case, ads will be delivered when you launch your web browser. Ads will be stored on your hard drive, and then viewed the next time you run the ad-enabled application. This allows us to deliver ads to applications which may be run when you are not online (such as a game), and allows you get that game free-of-charge."


It is clear that the USCF Executive Board did not know about this. I was present at the USCF Executive Board meeting on May 29 when KO Interactive made its presentation and I asked the KO representatives some hard questions, but nobody else present seemed concerned, so this deal to allow KO to offer its "free" service to USCF members went through unopposed.

This deal has nevertheless been controversial within the Executive Board, but not because of the Radiate technology which nobody knew about at the time. For example, here are two letters written by Executive Board members:

From: APCT@aol.com
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 08:57:24 EDT
Subject: Re: Who Got It Right?
X-Rcpt-To: sloan@ishipress.com

And amid all the weeping and gnashing of teeth, it should be pointed out that the USCF's just-announced Internet initiative, US Chess Live, powered by the Games Parlor, giving Internet playing capability to our members, was a result of an EB vote of 5-2-1, those voting for (Barry, Pechac, Scott, Redman, and Warren), those against (McCrary and Smith), and abstaining (Ippolito). This major accomplishment in the face of opposition from the president and vice-president after years of talk with no action in this vital area was finally realized. Surely the delegates will find this interesting.

Helen Warren


Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2000 08:04:37 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Dr. R John McCrary"
X-Rcpt-To: sloan@ishipress.com

"Please note: Any recipient of this communication has my permission to post or forward it at his/her discretion.

"Helen, you may recall that in Tucson in January I sponsored a motion that gave the ED power to negotiate with any provider of Internet-related services without exclusivity, subject to Board confirmation. That motion passed 5-1-2, with Barry opposed and Pechac and Warren abstaining. The member opposing (and perhaps those abstaining) apparently did so because the motion bypassed the Internet subcommittee of the Board, which was the impediment that blocked the prior agreements of a different kind.

"Because of my own prior motion, I opposed any subsequent motion that named a specific provider with whom the ED might negotiate because it was redundant to my motion already passed which already gave him blanket authority, and thus tended by implication to limit that authority to a specific group named.

"I have no problem discussing my voting record with anyone who may inquire. While we are on the topic of accountability, should we discuss why certain Board members wish not to publicize their conference call vote of May 10 ? ( See the "Delegates' Call pp. 7-8, motion # EB-00-87.) Is there some reason those demanding public accountability from others do not wish it for themselves? ( Hint: I voted for that motion # EB-00-87, after providing a substantive amendment to it that helped George's negotiating posture while assuring an agreement acceptable to all.)

"Regards, John McCrary"


In their defense, nobody knew or reasonably could have known that KO Interactive was developing software which could infect the hard drives of all 88,000 USCF Members. We have to thank our Executive Board for believing that there is still such a thing as a free lunch.

Sam Sloan

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