Paving the way for Internet users to get friendly and non-invasive software, a group of Internet companies is to announce a new program to certify downloads. Dubbed the "Trusted Download Program", the initiative is backed by America Online, Yahoo, CNET Networks, Verizon and Computer Associates. It will begin early next year in a trial version, and will get access to a list of applications certified by online privacy watchdog group Truste.

"With consumers downloading more and more software, it's vital to give people real control over what they will allow on their computers," Fran Maier, executive director of Truste, said in the statement. The official announcement of the initiative is scheduled for Wednesday morning at an event here.
Although the Trusted Download Program won't blacklist adware or spyware, it will be necessary for software makers to clearly communicate what function their software performs. Consumer consent will be necessary before the commencement of download, and will be required again when installing the software.