n. A software program that surreptitiously sends data to an individual or a company when the computer on which the program is installed is connected to the Internet.
Also Seen As
A computer with an always-on connection has a permanent IP address, which makes it especially vulnerable to hackers' "Trojan horses" or so-called "Spyware" attacks.
—“New firewall catches all rogue intruders,” Edmonton Journal (Alberta), February 17, 2000
Another reason is 'spyware' - computer programs which make it easy for employers to track internet use in the office, so that workers who are online may not be able to do everything they want to.
—Wayne Asher, “Emails on the menu; Web of Net cafes spreads worldwide,” Daily Mail (London), March 10, 1999
1994 (earliest)
Can anyone please give me some information about what is possible software and hardware-wise to spy on someone working on the computer?

I am in particular interested in tools that enable for instance an employer to measure the productiveness of his employees by measuring the duration of idletimes, typing speed, and tools that enable the employer to get a copy of anyone's screen on his own screen and watch along.
—Ferry van het Groenewoud, “Info wanted on Spy-ware,” vmsnet.networks.misc, November 05, 1994