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Anti-Spyware Law Snags Anti-Spyware Vendor 138

Posted by Zonk
from the guess-their-product-wasn't-very-good dept.
Country Lawyer writes "Washington state's anti-spyware law has just resulted in a $1 million victory for the state, the first successful prosecution under the new law. The weird thing? They sued an anti-spyware vendor." From the article: "Washington State went after the company after 1,145 state residents purchased the software and the complaints began rolling in. Secure Computer president Paul Burke will now pay $200,000 in penalties, make $75,000 worth of restitution to Washington residents, and pay another $725,000 to cover the state's attorneys' fees. The irony of an anti-spyware law being used against an anti-spyware vendor was not commented upon."
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Anti-Spyware Law Snags Anti-Spyware Vendor

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  • BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cwells (58526) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @02:11PM (#17148916) Homepage
    "$725,000 to cover the state's attorneys' fees"

    that's just insane!
    • by HiChris! (999553)
      These guys were con artists and should be fined severely, but couldn't more of that money have gone to the people who were duped? Then again the people who wrote the law were probably lawyers and needed to make sure they could have something to gain.
      • by Ironsides (739422)
        These guys were con artists and should be fined severely, but couldn't more of that money have gone to the people who were duped? Then again the people who wrote the law were probably lawyers and needed to make sure they could have something to gain.

        The lawyers in this case were the Washington State Attorney General's office. In other words, by goin to the lawyers, the money is going into the State of Washingtons coffers, and helps to lower taxes, benifiting the people who were duped.
        • by enosys (705759)
          That would spread the benefit over the entire state. Don't those people who were duped deserve more than someone unrelated to the whole affair? I think that someone who was tricked into buying a useless product using false and alarmist marketing deserves something more than a refund.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Ironsides (739422)
            In that case, it's the law that needs to be changed. Currently, it appears that it only severes to get your money back+ some small ammount. If they want damages, I guess there is small claims court. Laws haven't exactly caught up to the computer age, or the domino effect that a crazy computer program can cause on a system (computer or otherwise).
        • In other words, by goin to the lawyers, the money is going into the State of Washingtons coffers, and helps to lower taxes, benifiting the people who were duped.
          Ah, that's why are state taxes are being raised. Good to know.
        • The lawyers in this case were the Washington State Attorney General's office. In other words, by goin to the lawyers, the money is going into the State of Washingtons coffers, and helps to lower taxes, benifiting the people who were duped.

          If these are attorneys' fees, they're going straight to the AG staff's salaries - that's how they'd be determined - what makes you think there's a surplus going into the general revenue fund?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by erroneus (253617)
          Yeah, that's not where the money is likely to go and no one ever sees a decrease in their tax rate just because some large fines and penalties are to be collected. I have yet to see a letter in the mail saying "good news! you don't have to pay as much tax this year because we sued a bunch of jerks!"

          I have learned a lot about taxes and the public's misconception of them... especially where federal taxes are concerned. For every expense that the government makes, there's supposed to be a tax that takes car
        • There is no time at all that payment of attorney's fees, even to the state will assist in lowering taxes. This simply gives the money back so they can use it again to sue another. There's no state income tax, but there is a big tax on gas, cigarettes, and anything else you may buy.
    • by wsanders (114993) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @02:54PM (#17149674) Homepage
      ... 459 days per year the hours add up pretty quickly.
    • ...remember that one reason that laws like this create a state right of action on behalf of the victims is because they address cases where the cost of litigation is prohibitive for private plaintiffs given the uncertainty of success and the work required to make the case and the small amount of damages, but when claims are aggregated, even though it is still expensive to litigate. Aggregating the claims mitigates somewhat the imbalance between the cost of litigation and the available damages, but often not
    • Actually, not insane (Score:4, Informative)

      by Presence1 (524732) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:27PM (#17150266) Homepage
      Assume a billable rate of $150 per hour, which is more than the average general practice firm charges, but far less than the $300+ that big city specialist firms charge for their most experienced people. At the $150 rate, it takes only 4834 billable hours to to get to $725K, and that is excluding expenses (expert witnesses, courier services, etc.).

      With 2000 work hours per year, that is less than three attnys full time for a year. With a case that complicated, and testing a new law (so they REALLY want to get it right to set the good prescedent), this doesn't seem unreasonable.

      Of course, I'm sure he doesn't get a discount, or get to nit-pick the bill either.
  • Sometimes I think it would be best to have less laws if only to keep lawyers from getting all the money.

    Yes I know its a government entity but I bet there are many "consultants" on that list that are not as well.

    I don't think lawyers, singular or as a corporation, should ever get more than the reward.
    • It isn't that much (Score:4, Informative)

      by everphilski (877346) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @02:20PM (#17149068) Journal
      7 lawyers making $100/hour working about 6 months (40 hours workweeks, no overtime) would account for it.

      Not to mention their legal staff. Evidence aquisition. Etc. Should they have sought a larger penalty? Sure. But don't underpay the lawyers just because the penalty is low.
      • by iocat (572367)
        The point of the law isn't to create a lottery system for retards who download/are infected with spyware. The point is to make it too expensive for spyware companies to do business in WA state. The victims get made whole (at least) and the company pays a lot. I'd much rather fund future enforcement with penalties and legal fees than tax dollars -- let the spyware guys pay the lawyers so they can go after the next offenders.
      • 7 lawyers making $100/hour working about 6 months (40 hours workweeks, no overtime) would account for it.

        Leaving aside the argument that $100/hour might be too high to start with...

        Seven lawyers for a single case? Seven lawyers working exclusively for that case? Their entire 40 hour workweeks for 6 months on that one case??

      • I used to work for a court reporting firm. We would charge upwards on $3.00/hr for original deposition transcripts, and that price doubles if they need it in a hurry. This is for what basically amounts to a photocopy. I have seen some bills in the thousands for transcripts of a single witness. Not all of the fees are profits for the lawyers.
        • by recursiv (324497)
          Three bucks? Holy crap. Don't people realize they could be getting a Big Mac for that kind of money?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dcw3 (649211)
        7 lawyers making $100/hour working about 6 months (40 hours workweeks, no overtime) would account for it.

        For those of you questioning the parents $100/hr. number, you've probably never been to an attorney. My divorce lawyer was billing $150/hr. ten years ago. Shit, my company bills more than that for my time, and I'm not getting anywhere near that. You need to realize that the figure isn't necessarily what the person is making, but what the firm charges. Wrapped into that figure are all the overhead ch
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @02:12PM (#17148930) Journal
    FTFA: "The dubious marketing tactics did not end there. Secure Computer also sold its product using pop-up ads which warned users that their computers might be infected with spyware, and it offered them a free system scan. The results of the scan were invariably positive. "Our investigation found that this so-called free scan always detected spyware, even on a clean computer," said Senior Counsel Paula Selis, who led the state investigation. "In order to remove this falsely detected spyware, users were instructed to pay $49.95 for the full version of Spyware Cleaner." It is illegal under Washington law to "induce a computer user to download software by falsely claiming the software is necessary for security purposes," she added."

    I was kind of tired of seeing stuff like they used....
    • My favorites are the ones that references DLL's or windows-specific conditions, and sometimes manage to pop-up on my linux system. Any chance civilians could sue 'em for false advertising?
      • Better yet, the ones with a suposed security warning from Internet Explorer... when I'm running firefox.
      • My favorites are the ones that references DLL's or windows-specific conditions, and sometimes manage to pop-up on my linux system.

        One side effect of running Linux is that the fake dialogs are virtually guaranteed to not match your actual UI, whether they're imitating Luna, Windows Classic, or Mac OS X. Heck, I sometimes see Mac Classic style fake dialogs. Mostly in banners, though, since there are very few sites I visit that manage to get their pop-ups past Firefox these days, and I only block ads that

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ..."induce a computer user to download software by falsely claiming the software is necessary for security purposes,"...

      You mean like MS WGA that was pushed as security update ?
    • by Mex (191941)
      The funny thing was you got these popup ads with a Windows style error graphic... even if you were on Linux.
  • Misleading... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday December 07, 2006 @02:12PM (#17148942) Homepage Journal
    These guys used bullshit popups in web browsers to convince people they needed to buy an Anti-Spyware product. Go get'em Washington.

  • by ghostlibrary (450718) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @02:13PM (#17148960) Homepage Journal
    I think the 'lack of irony' is that the supposed anti-spyware company was itself corrupt. "The company allegedly spammed", did fake scans then informed customers they needed to buy the product ("Our investigation found that this so-called free scan always detected spyware, even on a clean computer,"), broke their own consent agreement, used shaddy sales tactics, etc.

    So, oddly enough, it seems the law worked. Just calling yourself an 'anti-spyware vendor' is no protection from being a spyware company.
    • by raehl (609729) <[moc.oohay] [ta] [113lhear]> on Thursday December 07, 2006 @02:20PM (#17149060) Homepage
      We know that they paid a total of $1 million in penalties.

      But how much in profits did they make?

      If they made $2 million in profits, then the law didn't work at all.
      • by daeg (828071)
        This was Washington State only. If there are $1 million in profits remaining, it is up to other states to go after these guys if their respective laws permit it.
      • FTA

        Secure Computer is actually based in New York, and has gone out of business since the lawsuit was filed.

        I think it worked well enough.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          FTA

          Secure Computer is actually based in New York, and has gone out of business since the lawsuit was filed.

          I think it worked well enough.

          That doesn't mean the owners didn't take all the remaining money and are laughing all the way to the bank and enjoying their retirement. Closing it down would be a logical thing for them to do under the circumstances, since the company would now be more likely to have its assets exposed to lawsuits from other states.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by louisadkins (963165)
          Ah, but did they re-open under a different name? I've seen that happen more than once. Scammer declares under the first business, closes the doors, and are protected. Then they open under a new name, as a new business. This makes it much harder to go after them as it was, technically, the first business that scammed. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
          • Sure, but that just makes the victory pot sweeter, and then you can also likely apply criminal proceedings. If someone is knowingly, willfully trying to avoid a law, oftentimes you can get triple damages.

            So... If you see this, report it, and let them know about the pattern. When you form a company, someone real has to be the agent for the company. So if that person starts, closes, starts, closes, a chain of businesses, it shouldnt be terribly hard to track, especially if you consider where they put their mo
          • by russ1337 (938915)
            >>> "Then they open under a new name, as a new business. This makes it much harder to go after them as it was, technically, the first business that scammed. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

            Hence the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act [wikipedia.org] should be applied to CEO's and Board of Directors of failed companies, and restrict them from holding such positions again for a set period of time. ( I read it that the BAPCPA only applies to individuals, anyone?)
  • No. It was spyware (Score:5, Insightful)

    by darkonc (47285) <stephen_samuelNO@SPAMbcgreen.com> on Thursday December 07, 2006 @02:15PM (#17148986) Homepage Journal
    It passed itself off as anti-spyware, but actually caused problems for users that installed it, was sold by spamming, etc., etc., etc.
  • I am overjoyed to see this precedent established. I am not a lawyer, but I think this ruling can only help other cases, even in other states.
    • If other states have laws comparable to Washington's, or if a federal law is enacted, yes. From a quick glance at Ben Edelman's State Spyware Legislation page [benedelman.org], it looks like most states have something, but a lack of consistency could gum up the use of out-of-state precedents.
    • by Anachragnome (1008495) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:12PM (#17149994)
      It was NOT a ruling, it was a settlement. HUGE difference. The most important is that no "precedence" has been set. What that basically means is that this case cannot be used in the future to help in the prosecution of other offenders.

      Is it a beginning? Yes. Does it move us closer to being able to prosecute others? No.

      While I applaude the state of Washington on bringing charges in the first place, I think that they did the people of the state a disservice by settling. It seemed they had a pretty solid case yet caved at the last moment.

      I suspect that what happened is that someone decided that in order to collect ANY funds from the company, they had to settle. Otherwise, the defendants attorneys would have "used" up all the funds in an effort to defend the company leaving none for the "fines".

      Attorneys have been known to obfuscate, delay and appeal cases all in the name of extending their own value, and thus, their fees.
      • by Ngarrang (1023425)
        See? An obvious sign I am not a lawyer. I completely mixed up the settlement/ruling thing. Okay, so no ruling, no precedent. If not in the courts, maybe this will create 'mind share' of the idea that, yes, my dear Scarlet, the government does give a damn and will attempt to prosecute you.
        • I have to admit that regardless of whether or not it set precedence, the outcome was still good. The miscreants that posed as being something beneficial were, in the end, fined pretty heavily.
          Hopefully the financial losses were sufficient enough that they will think twice before doing something similar.

          That being said, it doesn't really matter that most of the money involved ended up in the pockets of lawyers. As long as it hurt the perps, it was worth the effort.
  • by MyNymWasTaken (879908) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @02:16PM (#17148994)
    This is not a story of an innocent company harmed by a stupid & malevolent government. The company is the equivalent of a glass window replacer who advertises their services by throwing a brick with their flyer wrapped around it through prospective client's windows.
  • RTFA! No Irony Ahead (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, 2006 @02:17PM (#17149016)
    They spammed and pop-up advertised with no opt-out.

    They made false claims as to a limited time offer.

    They provided free scans that resulted in a false-positives.

    They offered upgrades to a "pro" version of a product that was essentially the same as already purchased.

    Say what you want about over-regulation, but these guys seemed a perfect target for these type laws. Has nothing to do with their supposed status as anti-spyware vendor.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Tanktalus (794810)

      They made false claims as to a limited time offer.

      Hmmm .. it appears that the offer is no longer available. It seems to have had a limit.

      Just not the limit that the company intended ;-)

  • So basically Washington gets $925,000, while the people actually affected by this have to split $70k. Thats a bit money-grubbing for me. That covers about 1400 people that were actually dumb enough to buy the spyware. This is just my opinion, but I think a lot more people than that actually bought it. They can then reinvest that $50 back into Gator.
    • by hogfat (944873)
      Well, according to the article, fewer than 1200 people constitute the actual "class" represented (about 1150 Washington State residents). While over $700 000 in legal fees certainly seems quite excessive -- I'm willing to bet that any attorneys involved are actually salaried, and paying for 50 000 hours of law clerks' time on this case would be completely irresponsible -- money paid to the state actually should help all Washington residents by ever-so-slightly reducing their required taxes.
  • Rouge anti-spyware (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Note, this is not an anti-spyware vendor who have got used. It is an so called "rouge anti-spyware" vendor. Rouge anti-spyware software is often distributed along with spyware. The rouge antispyware then tells you to buy it to get rid of spyware. It also popups on websites and misleads you into buying their software.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_software [wikipedia.org]

    $750000. Damn, they some blood sucking lawyers!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sqlrob (173498)
      Yeah, they're really red faced after this court loss
      • by Kelson (129150) *
        Or maybe it's a communist plot!

        A communist plot to bilk people out of money.

        Through capitalism.

        OK, maybe not.

        Um... maybe from a red state?

        No, New York and Washington.

        Hmm... maybe their marketing people wear make-up?
      • by Intron (870560)
        I was cyan after I red this, but now I'm a green with him.
  • The practices of this company to sucker in people to buy there software is highly dubious.

    When you use spy-ware, malware to create a problem just so you can sell your product, you deserve to get smacked as hard as the law can allow (imo), how it is ironic when the company probably produced more spyware then it stopped.
  • that, as briefly discussed in the article:
    - spams without opt-out
    - offered fake discounts
    - had deceptive popups, offering a free scan, that always, in every machine, report that the user had spyware.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Loco Moped (996883)
      - had deceptive popups, offering a free scan, that always, in every machine, report that the user had spyware. Well, by the time you downloaded and ran the scan, you certainly did have spyware. So I guess it was telling the truth.
  • by griffjon (14945) <GriffJon&gmail,com> on Thursday December 07, 2006 @02:20PM (#17149064) Homepage Journal
    The irony of going after a spyware vendor ends once you discover that they're spamming lying scum:

    "...their "Spyware Cleaner" product had, well, a couple of flaws: it didn't work well, it deleted a user's Hosts file after installation, and it tried to convince users to "upgrade" to another program that did essentially the same thing.

    But it was the way that Spyware Cleaner was marketed that attracted the Attorney General's attention in the first place. The company allegedly spammed users to advertise its product, included deceptive subject lines, failed to include an opt-out mechanism, and suggested that the product was "discounted" for a "limited time," when in reality it was always available for the same price.

    The dubious marketing tactics did not end there. Secure Computer also sold its product using pop-up ads which warned users that their computers might be infected with spyware, and it offered them a free system scan. The results of the scan were invariably positive. "Our investigation found that this so-called free scan always detected spyware, even on a clean computer," said Senior Counsel Paula Selis, who led the state investigation. "In order to remove this falsely detected spyware, users were instructed to pay $49.95 for the full version of Spyware Cleaner." It is illegal under Washington law to "induce a computer user to download software by falsely claiming the software is necessary for security purposes," she added.
    • Score system? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anachragnome (1008495)
      This post just pointed out the the complete uselessness of the scoring system used on slashdot.

      According to the post, it was scored 4 for being informative when it is comprised of nothing more then a cut/paste from the article, prefaced with a remark that attempts to point out the obvious. Don't get me wrong. I'm not slamming the poster here, but rather the scoring system.

      Kudos, Slashdot, on an excellent scoring system.

      (By the time some of you read this, it may have changed, dunno. But I can almost assure y
      • by griffjon (14945)
        Hopefully you wont get trollified, you're totally right. And in the time it took my to cut and paste, 10 others had done the same because the article summary made it look all oh, poor little spyware company getting hoisted by its own anti-spyware petard, when the reality was much different. le sigh.
        • Glad to see you were not offended by my comment. Your obviously smart enough to see that it was not targeting YOU.

          Believe it or not, I was actually concerned about that.

          I am one of those "fucked up in the head" people that realizes that there is a real person at the other end of every post.
          • by griffjon (14945)
            I am one of those "fucked up in the head" people that realizes that there is a real person at the other end of every post. ...what are you doing on /.???
  • No the irony is... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by korbin_dallas (783372) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @02:22PM (#17149100) Journal
    that a handful of LAWYERS get $750,000 meanwhile the real engine of the economy, people who bought and used the thing have to split $75,000.

    "If I owned this place and Hell, I'd rent this place out and live in Hell."
    • It was the state attorneys' office that brought suit. The funds are probably going to be thrown into the general state funds.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Guppy06 (410832)
      "people who bought and used the thing have to split $75,000."

      Over about 1000 people, that averages out to $75 for what they paid $50 for.
  • by OglinTatas (710589) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @02:22PM (#17149110)
    It would be ironic if they were more than nominally an anti-spyware company. I read the article, and it sounds like the ruling was correct.
  • Giving good guys a pass for bad behavior sends a bad message.

    It's like saying it's ok for a sports hero or rap-music artist to drive drunk. Oh, wait.
    • by Vendetta (85883)
      Did you read the article? No, of course you didn't. These guys were definitely not "good guys". They were scumbags.
  • The company certainly deserves what it got, what a bunch of scheming assholes. What's interesting is that there really wasn't any spyware involved (if Ars Technica's writeup is accurate), just spam and deceptive popup ads. So how does this fall within Washington's "new spyware law"? And I wonder what kind of precedent this could set (probably just for the state, but, you know Redmond is located there too).
    • It suggests that the anti-spyware law is defined broadly enough to cover related offenses.

      It reminds me of the way the term "computer virus" has expanded, at least in general use, to cover worms, trojans, and other sorts of malware that don't technically fall under the original definition. This has happened concurrently with antivirus programs expanding their mandate to cover various types of computer security threats.

      Similarly, going the other way, you have "spam" incorporating email-based phishing attemp
  • What is the deal with State Attorney's fees? This action was brought by officials of the State Attorney General's office, their salaries are paid by taxpayers. As employees of the State, the prosecution lawyers have already been paid for their work. Sure the State has a right to recover their expenses in this lawsuit, but this seems like an awfully high dollar figure, and seems like double-dipping at the taxpayers' expense. Do the prosecutors get a bonus for winning?
    • by phorm (591458)
      and seems like double-dipping at the taxpayers' expense

      How is that? They're taking the money from the spammer, so it's not like the taxpayer is paying twice. In fact, assuming that the attorney would submit a bill to the state (and thus the taxpayers), instead said bill will be subsidized by this spamming fake.
      • by sakusha (441986)
        Sure, I endorse the spammer paying attorney's fees, that's the whole point, to make the losing defendant pay for the lawsuit. But how can the State Attorneys submit a bill to anyone when they are salaried employees of the State? The "lawyers fees," in actuality, are State fees, since they should rightfully be awarded to the State Treasury, since taxpayers bankrolled the lawsuit. Why should the attorneys get anything beyond their salaries? If the attorneys get money from their salary AND fees from the defend
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DragonWriter (970822)

          But how can the State Attorneys submit a bill to anyone when they are salaried employees of the State?

          The money to pay those attorneys' salary (and other expenses incurred in the litigation) come out of taxpayer funded accounts. The award of attorneys' fees takes money from the wrongdoer and puts it back in those accounts, saving the taxpayers the expenses incurred in the litigation and allowing them (through their elected representatives) to use that money for other purposes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      What is the deal with State Attorney's fees? This action was brought by officials of the State Attorney General's office, their salaries are paid by taxpayers.

      The taxpayers have (directly or through their representatives) chosen to have certain wrongdoers pay them (the taxpayers) back for those salaries and other expenses in certain cases when the expenses are devoted to dealing with those wrongdoers' wrongdoing; essentially, this money will go to the state's general fund, to offset expenses (both personnel

  • ...and pay another $725,000 to cover the state's attorneys' fees.

    Well, i think i fucked up good when i picked my career path.
  • by kofox (615130)
    Where has all the semi witty slashdot drivel gone? I was expecting to be entertained, because this topic is obviously wrought with irony, but instead all I get are these boring insightful comments. You people are pathetic. I hate you. Moegar ftw!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Aqua_boy17 (962670)
      I know, where's BadAnalogyGuy when you need him?

      This is like a bullet proof vest maker shooting someone in the chest. No, wait, this is like a vest maker being shot in the chest, with his own gun, and then being thrown in a river. No wait...
  • by mark-t (151149) <`markt' `at' `lynx.bc.ca'> on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:04PM (#17149860) Journal
    Anti-spyware that cannot be easily uninstalled and constantly harrases the user to purchase an upgrade is no better at all than the malware that it proposes to eliminate. The tactics of such software are to harrass the user to the point that they ultimately surrender and buy the software simply to be rid of it. I've recently been witness to this happening on a Windows system that had both a firewall and current virus protection at the time, yet not even the latest antivirus signatures loaded into it would get rid of the malware. After spending three days trying to eliminate it using every tactic I could think of, I reformatted the drive and reinstalled Windows. For the sake of reference, it looked like it was promoting the software "Virus Bursters" and "Drive Cleaner". Any product I could find that claimed to get rid of them either simply failed to do the job or else cost money to get rid of it (although the scan was free). The latter policy frankly struck me as no different than the tactics that the author(s) of this particular malware are trying to employ, and I will not submit to such blackmailing tactics.
  • But it was the way that Spyware Cleaner was marketed that attracted the Attorney General's attention in the first place. The company allegedly spammed users to advertise its product, included deceptive subject lines, failed to include an opt-out mechanism, and suggested that the product was "discounted" for a "limited time," when in reality it was always available for the same price.

    I`m *very* happy to see the government does not differentiate between spammers, and spammers acting as legitimate companies. To me it doesn't matter if it's your son delibatery sending me spam or your boss, you're all equally convicted of being jerks in my eyes, and I`m glad to see this court had the same point of view on this.

  • Spyware Cleaner is anti-spyware now?

    I make a nice chunk of change removing crap from computers. Spyware 'Cleaner' is one of the piles. Just like all the other crap you get when you click a flashing ad that says "You're[sic] computer is infected...click here to clean it!"
  • The company will probably switch to stock pump-and-dump scams anyway.
  • They really need to include the option to moderate stories and summaries in addition to the comments themselves. I'd like to put this one down for +1 misleading summary
  • Why did the state need a new law to handle this? Two thousand year old Roman law would have been adequate for a fraud conviction.
  • Sounds like they violated the rico act.
  • Well I guess I should be proud of what Washington State has done. As a lifetime resident I am a bit surprised they did this at all... you would have to live here to understand our local politics but back to the point at hand. Not only did they use deceptive tactics to sell this "anti-spyware" to you once you installed the product it actually reduced your overall system security like delete your host file and turn on file and print sharing and disable you firewall while also removing the little pop up window
  • Stop posting. (Score:3, Informative)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @04:39PM (#17151576) Journal

    Zonk. Stop posting shit.

    Seriously what is this crap? "Washington Law Stops Anti-Spyware Vendor"? The vendor in question was FALSE MARKETING claiming machines were INFECTED when they were clean. It was throwing pop-ups in peoples' faces and everything. The SEC could shut these guys down, seriously. You might as well say "Built-In FTP Password Sniffer in Linux Kernel" and talk about the Linux Kernel sniffing FTP passwords and sending them offsite; there's actually an example code out there to explain what a rootkit is and demonstrate connection tracking, it's not part of vanilla Linux or any distro, and this would make great FUD. It'd be right along Zonk's line of posting too.

    My suggestion is that Slashdot needs to throw Zonk out because his stories are all bullshit.

    • i agree with that last part. All Zonk articles are crap. if i wanted to read a bunch of ambiguous unfocused crap, i would read msn's news page.
  • Calling yourself anti-spyware does not make you anti-spyware. Ironic? No. Thats like saying it's ironic that Microsoft got slapped with an anti-trust suit.
  • Our investigation found that this so-called free scan always detected spyware, even on a clean computer.

    Well, to be fair, those clean computers were running Windows.

  • Now a days it seems that more than half the money of any lawsuit goes to lawyers. Fine ppl have to be paid for the work they do right? But what I don't understand is, why in the world is the justice process so complicated that everyone has to require a lawyer to solve a problem? There should be a better way in place, where if a person decides to file a lawsuit against someone else, all they have to do is provide the right documents according to an easy to follow standard that has been outlined by the justi
  • This has been said a zillion times before, but the article is referring to what's more commonly known as a "rogue anti-spyware [spywarewarrior.com]" company, who puts out a 3rd-rate "spyware removal" program simply because there's money in it (some consist of nothing more than a grep for certain "bad" filenames!), then tricks old grannies with fake Windows error popups saying they're infected, but for $49.99 this nice product can make it all better.

    These are the same companies responsible for those "Your computer is broadcastin
  • Secure Computer president Paul Burke will now pay $200,000 in penalties, make $75,000 worth of restitution to Washington residents, and pay another $725,000 to cover the state's attorneys' fees.

    >> That the Lawyer's fees are more than the fine and the restitution combined. It seems to me, that just going to court is penalty enough -- much more than if you are guilty of anything.

    You just get into court hoping that you don't have to pay lawyers fees. They might as well just say; "anti up!"
    "I'm going to b

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