Lie: You are being investigated.
Truth: The "investigation" is a simple little web page sent to your browser by a program on Robin Hood Software's computer after you click on the Internet address for their "scare application" (which may be disguised as a "fake link" as is encouraged by Robin Hood Software). It prints out information on your computer to you. Other than your IP address, Referral: header, and user agent information (see my technical notes on that), none of that information is available to anybody other than the current user of your computer. This application is a scare tactic, nothing more, intended to trick you into buying their software. (See also: ICQ Updates, which did a bit on this).
Lie: Their "investigations applet" can send them the contents of
my hard drive, and this is proven by the fact that they showed me a list
of the files on my system.
Truth: This is pure bunkum. There is a function inside your web browser that, when encountered in a web page, will display the contents of a directory -- to you. It will NOT send that data to a remote system! This "investigations applet" claims that people can look at your system over the Internet. This is pure deceptive advertising, and they are under investigation by the FTC for violating the Truth in Advertising Act for this conduct.
Lie: The Internet can put secret files on your computer
without your knowledge.
Truth: No, *YOU* can put "secret" files on your computer, by browsing various web sites. I say "secret" because they're hardly a secret -- we're talking about the list of URL's that you visited, "web cookies" that various web sites have sent you, and the image cache that your browser maintains in order to speed future visits to the sites you browse. This is not some sort of deep dark conspiracy on the part of Microsoft or The Government or whatever, this is just how technology works. There are literally dozens of programs available, both free and for pay, that will clean out these cookie, history and cache files. See the Alternatives to Evidence Eliminator page for more details.
You can be put in jail or have big legal troubles for normal web browsing activities (see the
bogus warning that they
send to Windows users).
Truth: Only child pornography will get you tossed in jail, and there's a pretty high burden of proof involved -- they have to prove that you knowingly downloaded child pornography (i.e., that it wasn't sent to you by mistake). It's a good thing to run a disk cleaner/file wipe program (which is what EE is) from time to time anyhow to clean out temp files and such, but you don't have to worry about Bubba -- the FBI isn't going to break down your door even if you're browsing pornography, as long as it's not kiddie porn. (And if it's kiddie porn, may you burn in hell forever!).
Evidence Eliminator will save your job if you browse sex sites at work.
[Implied by their scare headlines about people fired for browsing sex sites
Truth: Installing Evidence Eliminator on your computer at work (or any unauthorized software, for that matter) is grounds for firing at most Fortune 500 companies and universities. A $70 security scanner, which is similar to the products that most of the Fortune 500 use, will detect attempts to install Evidence Eliminator, allowing administrators to take action.
Lie: Evidence Eliminator will cover up your tracks if you
browse sex sites at work.
Truth: At most of the Fortune 500, all outgoing web connections go through what is known as a "proxy cache". This logs all attempts to connect to external web sites. Generally this is also programmed to detect attempts to connect to XXX web sites, and notify administrators that the attempts are taking place. Even if you managed to evade the security scanners and managed to install Evidence Eliminator on your machine at work, connections to XXX URL's are grounds for firing at most major corporations. Note that employment here in the United States for most "white collar" jobs is "at will", i.e., you can be fired at any time, whether the "evidence" is still on your computer or not.
Lie: Evidence Eliminator can "defeat forensic equipment costing more than US$7000".
Truth: A $70 piece of shareware defeats it! Reality is that if an employer or a TLA wants to know what's on your computer, they'll install a bug in your computer to tell them everything you do as you do it. Sounds farfetched? Not at all. Virtually all corporate computers now are "locked down" and will report to the security administrator when you attempt to install a program like "Evidence Eliminator", and as for the computer bugs, the FBI did it in the Scarfo case, and probably has done it to thousands of others. The FBI even has a VIRUS that'll do this so they don't even have to go into your home. EE is worthless in a corporate environment or if a TLA really wants you. But the EE guys won't tell you that, they're too busy trying to bilk you out of your money.
Lie: Evidence Eliminator will cover your tracks if government
agencies are interested in you because you, say, download child pornography.
[Note that the only thing that you can get sent to jail for that you
get off the Internet is child pornography -- so their scare ads imply
that they'll save you from jail? They're saying they'll save you
if you download child pornography!]
Truth: The FBI has a system called "Carnivore" that is installed at your ISP. If the FBI becomes interested in you, they can monitor everything that goes through your Internet connection, and once they see incriminating evidence go by, they will burst in and seize your computer long before you have time for the lengthy and tedious process of running Evidence Eliminator.
Lie: EE will save you if you download child porn (hey, they say it'll
keep you from being arrested by what you download off the Internet, and the
only thing that'll get you arrested is child porn):
Truth: Most sources of child porn that you'll find on the Internet are actually FBI agents working for the "Innocent Images" child pornography task force. If you download child porn from them, your download is logged and you'll find FBI agents knocking down your door and seizing your computer before you get a chance to spend the hour or so deleting your files that Evidence Eliminator takes (even if its shredding would defeat the FBI, which is questionable -- see above link).
Lie: Their web site says that "Actually we have never "Spammed". What is
Spamming, and what is clearly not "Spamming" is defined by a generally
respected Internet standard: "The Breidbart Index".
Truth: What they fail to mention is that the Breidbart Index is merely an algorithm that is used by the USENET cancelbots for automated cancelling (see the Jargon Dictionary). Apparently their notion is that "if we aren't caught by the cancelbots, it's not a spam." Of course, that notion is ridiculous. That's like saying "If I kill someone and am not caught, it's not a murder." Hint: Whether you're caught or not, you're still guilty. All it takes to see spam is to go to Google Groups and do a search by date for the term "Evidence Eliminator". There were over 50 spams within the last week alone the last time I did this search.
When confronted with this fact, Robin Hood Software alternately uses three different explanations: (1)the spams aren't "really" spams by Robin Hood Software because they're being done by affiliates, (2)the spams are a "joe job" by affiliates trying to get other affiliates kicked out of the affiliate program, or (AFDB time!), (3)the spams are all being posted by some vast New World Order conspiracy to destroy the cause of personal security and uhm, yeah, probably the Vatican and the Jews are part of this conspiracy to, uhm, yeah, uh huh, tell us another one Andy? Given that Robin Hood Software in its own EMAIL to affiliates encourages them to use ICQ, "push links", and other spammer tactics of that sort, and considering that Robin Hood Software has taken no effective action to eliminate the spam on the part of its affiliates (and, since they are acting as agents of the company, is responsible for their behavior in any event), it's hard to say that Robin Hood Software is innocent of spamming!
This page is hate speech.
Truth: Hate speech has a number of definitions, but generally hate speech is considered speech which advocates violence, or which targets people based upon their race or sexual tendencies. You will not find any such speech on this site. I advocate simply that you do not buy software from scam artists. If that's hate speech, then Consumer Reports is hate speech.
They said (in May, 2001) that "Even the best Forensic Laboratory Analysis with
electron microscopes is no match for Evidence Eliminator's formidable
display of new, innovative, World-Leading data destruction
Truth: When asked for the name of an independent testing lab that has verifed this claim, you should have seen Andy duck and weave! And duck and weave and ... Pshaw. Given that they don't do Guttman shred (the only known software method for doing this), this is yet another snow job. These guys ought to be eligible for the Blizzard Award by now for "most snow on a single website"! Talk about con artists...
Conclusion:Let's face facts, folks: These people are seriously truth-challenged. I don't know if they'd know truth if it lept up and bit them in the face. The truth of the matter is that what we have here is a perfectly acceptable little $39.95 disk cleaning product -- being sold for $150 via claims which are at best exaggerated, at worst pure hokum and bunk and probably illegal under the Truth in Advertising act in the United States (at least that's what the FTC says).
If you have been victimized by Robin Hood Software's deceptive advertising, file a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Comission. You may also wish to file a deceptive advertising complaint via the FTC's international complaints form, where they say they'll forward it to the proper UK authorities. At that time you probably also want to file a complaint with Robin Hood Software's Internet Service Provider, UUNET-UK noting that Robin Hood Software is engaged in illegal activities in violation of UUNET's Acceptable Use Policy, though I doubt that it will do any good, since UUNET-UK appears to be a spammer haven ("We're MCI-Worldcom, we own half the Internet, you can't black-hole us for letting spammers use our network, so we don't have to care, nyah nyah nyah!").