E.T. application
n. A software program that “phones home“ by surreptitiously sending data to an online destination.

Example Citation:
"This software plants itself in the depths of your hard drive and, from that convenient vantage point, starts digging up information. Often it's watching what you do on the Internet. Sometimes it's keeping track of whether you click on ads in software, even when you're not hooked up to the Internet. In Netspeak these programs are known as E.T. applications because after they have lodged in your computer and learned what they want to know, they do what Steven Spielberg's extraterrestrial did: phone home."
—Adam Cohen, "Spies Among Us," TIME Digital, July, 2000

Related Words: