Earlier this week the Anti-Spyware Coalition released its final definition of what exactly is spyware.

It's good to see that the ASC has taken its time on this definition. Surely, being able to delineate what is and what isn't spyware is useful, but many administrators, computer users and computer owners might argue that the line need not be too finely drawn. And that wide sweeping brushstrokes, in this case, might be ok. As a gentleman from Texas recently said, "If it rattles like a snake and looks like a snake, it's probably a damn snake."

So, who makes up the Anti-Spyware Coalition? AOL, CNET, Computer Associates, Dell, F-Secure, HP, Lavasoft, McAfee, Microsoft, Panda, Symantec, Trend Micro, and Yahoo among others. (full list)

Now, with these formal definitions, companies, hopefully, can easily determine what to protect and what to protect computers from.

Thankfully, neither Sony, with its recent rootkit debacle, was not on this list, nor was Apple, which apparently is capturing iTunes data through the Mini-Store in one of the latest releases of iTunes. But, other companies that have had problems understanding spyware were (e.g. Microsoft, Yahoo).

Whether or not these guidelines amount to better protection for computer users, remains to be seen. Some critics worry that these guidelines will make it easier for spyware makers to create products that get around the guidelines. Cybertrust, which was not on the ASC, will be certifying products that meet the guidelines with an Anti-Spyware seal of approval.