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Company Settles 'Fake Spyware' Suit

     
5:29 pm on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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A company accused of selling phony antispyware tools has settled a lawsuit filed by Washington state's attorney general.

Secure Computer has agreed to pay $1m (£506,141) to settle charges that it violated Washington's computer spyware law, the attorney general's office said in a statement Monday. The case was the first lawsuit under the law.

Filed in January, the suit accused Secure Computer of marketing software that falsely claimed PCs were infected with spyware, then enticing consumers to pay $49.95 for a program called Spyware Cleaner that claimed to remove it. The suit alleged violations under Washington’s 2005 Computer Spyware Act, federal and state spam laws, and the state Consumer Protection Act.

Company Settles 'Fake Spyware' Suit [news.zdnet.co.uk]

6:12 pm on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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wow - they stole my idea
glad I didn't do that, dodged a bullet fer sure
6:58 pm on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if this will have any affect on pop up ads that say your computer is infected with viruses, and links to buy their software.
7:26 pm on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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There were several of these guys out there.

Glad they nailed one of them.

7:46 pm on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Considering how long they have been in operations, the spread of their "services", $1mm is less then a slap on the hand.
7:52 pm on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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A good result but there are more companies like this out there.
9:07 pm on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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... and I have a new business model. I guess I should wait for some of the heat to die down first. Lucky for me that consumers have such a short memory.

These guys don't seem like they were all too intelligent, or they were too greedy. Me? I would have taken the first mil and headed to a new location, far far away. But of course I know better than that in the first place, darnit.

9:53 pm on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Worth noting: The settlement applies only to consumers in the State of Washington. Has no effect anywhere else.
11:54 pm on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>>>> I would have taken the first mil and headed to a new location, far far away.

Almost nobody is capable of doing that. 1 million isn't enough, 5 isn't.......

8:00 am on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The agreement does not include an admission or finding of wrongdoing ..

Does anyone else find this rather less than satisfying?

9:56 am on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I would like to know whether the fine comes anywhere near the amount of profit that the company generated doing this and similiar things.

I fully expect that the company in question made far more than the amount that they were fined. In which case its a very positive thing for them - as they've made money and - since they've paid what may amount to a token fine for them - won't be threatened by any further lawsuits there.

The words "laughing all the way to the bank" spring to mind on this one. It seems to say: do something bad, and you'll get a minor slap on the wrist. Companies like this know exactly what they are doing and - should it be proven that they are doing illegal things - should be shut down.

10:23 pm on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Does anyone else find this rather less than satisfying?

Yes... the legitimate, honest side of me thinks this is really terrible. The not so honest side of me sees this as being somewhat inspiring though, too. It's surreal to think that people fall for this stuff.

It does bring up an interesting business model...

Diagnose people with having a mental "problem" based on a 5 question quiz... jazz it up to make it sound that they'll never reach their full potential in life, that they're going to face certain failure. But then... propose they purchase a copy of your self-help e-book to solve their problems.

Hmmm... with the right legal disclaimers, and proper wording, I do believe something like this might work. ;-) (Just kidding!)

8:52 pm on Dec 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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No fault is a typical way to settle. Admitting fault is an open invitation for others to sue you.