The FTC has settled with evil Adware company DirectRevenue for $1.5 million dollars (via Internetnews). The outrageous part of this story is that this leaves DirectRevenue about $20 million dollars that it made from infecting computers around the world with their crappy malware, disguised as screensavers, games, and utilities. These apps monitored the users Internet habits and displayed targeted pop-up ads based on that behavior.
And guess what...?
If you did manage to delete these applications...they just installed themselves again. I've been a victim of this type of malware, to the point where I've had to wipe a hard drive and reinstall Windows.
When is the government going to get serious about this? I wrote recently about a similar type of settlement by the FTC with a porn spammer. To me it appears like the FTC only wants to look like they are doing something...but doesn't actually want to do something. A slap on the wrist does nothing to stop these companies from finding some type of loophole to continue this behavior.
Also, by settling with these companies, they get to claim that there has been no wrongdoing. In this particular case, DirectRevenue had the gaul in April (when the suit was filed) to say:
"This lawsuit is a baseless attempt by the Office of the Attorney General to rewrite the rules of the adware business. It focuses exclusively on the company's past practices -- practices we and other industry leaders changed long ago -- and says not a word about what we're doing today."
Wait...you have rules? As for long ago, the settlement states they cannot serve ads to any computer with their malware installed prior to October 1, 2005...which of course was...sooooo long ago.
Kudos to FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz who voted against the deal saying:
"The $1.5 million in monetary relief that the Commission obtained as part of the consent agreement is a disappointment because it apparently leaves DirectRevenue's owners lining their pockets with more than $20 million from a business model based on deceit."