Big Brother is watching YOU!

The job of marketers is to collect information about us. On the Internet this is quite easy to do it in theory. We often fill out online forms with our choices and preferences. On the other hand, most people avoid giving personal details, or they lie about them, so the marketers use other techniques.

The purpose of “spyware” is to collect information about a PC and its user. Some of the most popular downloads on the Internet include these secret programs. It is a way for software writers to make money, but the consumer doesn’t pay anything. The problem is that spyware usually gets into your system, but you don’t know it is there.

These are some of the things spyware can do:
• monitor the keys you press when you work at your PC
• scan files on your hard disk and modify them
• monitor which websites you visit and how often
• change your homepage and other personal settings

It’s difficult to remove spyware and it can cause problems. Your computer can start working more slowly and sometimes crash. Spyware is normally legal. Programs with spyware normally include a warning in the licence agreement. Unfortunately, most people don’t read licence agreements because they are long and technical. If you click on “I accept”, the supplier can legally spy on you, so next time you install a new program, read the small print.


Ex. 1 Find in the text the English equivalents of these words:

1. formularz
2. wybór
3. cel
4. użytkownik
5. konsument
6. klawisze
7. pliki
8. ustawienia
9. ostrzeżenie
10. licencja


Ex.2 Complete these expressions from the text with the words from the list below:

change / collect / fill / install / make / press / remove / scan / use / visit

1. to ______________ information
2. to ______________ out a form
3. to ______________ techniques
4. to ______________ money
5. to ______________ the keys
6. to ______________ files
7. to ______________ websites
8. to ______________ settings
9. to ______________ spyware
10. to ______________ a program


I know English idioms!

In this lesson we read about spyware, the kind of software that can cause users a lot of trouble. In English, when we want to speak about a difficult situation, we can use this idiom:
• to be in a tight spot = to be in a difficult situation (być w trudnym położeniu)
➢ The computer company has been in a tight spot since the shortage of computer chips appeared.


Phrasals, phrasals…

This lesson’s reading text lists such a sentence: “We often fill out online forms with our choices and preferences.” The underlined expressions is a useful phrasal verb which means “to write the necessary information on an official document” (wypełnić). Another form of this verb is “to fill in”:
• to fill in = to write or type information on a document in spaces provided for it
➢ Companies encourage customers to fill in questionnaires about themselves.
➢ It took me several hours to fill in the application form.


Grammar corner

A sentence from the text reads: It’s difficult to remove spyware and it can cause problems. The sentence uses the word “it” twice, in different meanings: first, as an impersonal structure (Trudno…) second, as a reference link to the previous part (to może powodować…)


Ex. Try and say this in English using the word „it”:

1. To nie najlepszy moment.
2. Łatwo jest się pomylić.
3. Miło z twojej strony
4. To mnie stresuje.



marketer –  specjalista od marketingu
to collect  – zbierać, gromadzić
in theory – w teorii
to fill out  – wypełniać
form – formularz
choice  – wybór
preference  – preferencja
to avoid  – unikać
personal details –  dane osobowe
to lie  – kłamać
technique  – technika, sposób
purpose  – cel
spyware –  oprogramowanie szpiegujące
user  -użytkownik
download –  „ściągniecie” (pliku z Internetu)
software  – oprogramowanie
to include  – zawierać
consumer  – konsument
to monitor  – śledzić
keys  – klawisze
to press  – naciskać
to scan  – skanować
file – plik
hard disk –  twardy dysk
to modify –  zmieniać
homepage  – strona domowa
settings –  ustawienia
to remove  – usunąć
to crash –  paść, zepsuć się
warning –  ostrzeżenie
licence agreement – umowa licencyjna
supplier  – dostawca
to spy on sb  – szpiegować
small print  – drobna czcionka


download lesson (pdf)




1. form
2. choice
3. purpose
4. user
5. consumer
6. keys
7. files
8. settings
9. warning
10. licence


1. to collect information
2. to fill out a form
3. to use techniques
4. to make money
5. to press the keys
6. to scan files
7. to visit websites
8. to change settings
9. to remove spyware
10. to install a program


Ex.3  Grammar corner
1. it’s not the best moment
2. It’s easy to make a mistake
3. It’s nice of you.
4. It makes me stressed.