You know that a concept has truly entered the mainstream when it spawns politically correct euphemisms. Potentially unwanted software is the latest safe and approved term for what most people think of as spyware and adware. So the House has just approved a bill that adds some deterrents and safeguards for consumers, to make spyware (oops... there I go again) somewhat less attractive as an advertising medium (link). However, the bill doesn't provide for protection for anti-spyware (should that be "anti-potentially-unwanted-software"?) makers -- companies who feel that they've been unfairly targeted can sue (link). This seems odd... if the anti-spyware product is erroneously removing desired software, you would think that the word would get out and no one would use it. However, if the software wasn't explicitly desired and installed by the customer, what's the argument?
Lawyers probably have a different view. I can think of a couple of products (which I won't name) that appear to do something useful, and then install adware as well. They protect themselves legally (but not IMHO ethically) by hiding the "consent" for installing the adware in an unnecessarily long click-through end user license agreement (EULA). So they say that the user must have desired it since they accepted the EULA.
So, what do you think? Obviously since I work for the Big M you could say that I am biased. But ethically this appears to be pretty clear-cut. The medical profession went through this whole "informed consent" problem several years ago, and now bend over backwards to ensure that the patient's consent includes an understanding of the procedure and the risks. Do we need some type of EULA law as well, in order to allow anti-spyware vendors to have a clear line of demarcation between wanted and unwanted?