ZoneAlarm - what's it really up to?

I was quite intrigued to read The Inquirer's report on Zone Alarm and how the free-to-use firewall software does some curious polling of the Internet.

According to Paul Hales @ The Inquirer, Infoworld has carried out some tests on the firewall software and discovered it sends off data to four different servers.

What's interesting about the report is that Zone Alarm Pro, the free firewall's big brother, dabbled with an option to anonymously pool data to Zone Labs' servers a few years back.

The data pooling option seemed to disappear when Zone Labs was acquired by Checkpoint and the software was upgraded from ZoneAlarm Pro to ZoneAlarm Security Suite, so it's my guess that ZoneAlarm still uses the same code as ZoneAlarm Pro.

Does this mean that Checkpoint is monitoring what users of ZoneAlarm are up to? I doubt it, as all the servers at Checkpoint's end of town would see would be some data and the user's IP address.

Nonetheless, if you use ZoneAlarm, it might be worth implementing a block on IP transmissions to the Checkpoint servers, as The Inquirer story recommends...