Thursday, May 29, 2008

to help or not to help

More and more I am confronted with a sort of moral dilemma. I read and post to the IE development forums over at MSDN. Frequently I see posts like this:

i want a BHO which continuously observe IE activity and send the URLs visited and time of visit and time of outfocus of them as soon as they are available,to listening java servlet. Now Please suggest me how to do this,perticularly this sending of url and their time details to java servlet.

He does not ask for help with a specific problem or bug he has encountered in the process. He does not tell us what he has done or post a sample of code he can not get to work. He simply asks, "how do I do this?" His masterful command of English does not help his case.

This guy is probably up to no good.

I can only think of one semi-legit use for such a thing, which would be for employers or parents to spy on their employees or children. And I'm not sure I can even get behind that.

So my dilemma becomes, do I help this guy? Do I tell him what to do? On the one hand, I do not want to be enabling spyware makers in anyway. On the other hand, if someone is paying him to do this thing, he is going to write the program whether I help him or not. Given that, is it better to make sure he does it right? I mean, which is better, crashing spyware or non-crashing spyware?

Anyway, today I am not helping this guy.

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