Readers might remember about two months ago, adware company 180solutions filed a lawsuit against security vendor Zone Labs for labeling 180's software as "high risk" and reporting that it monitors and records keystrokes. Now 180solutions has dropped the lawsuit since Zone Labs has reportedly downgraded the risk level of 180's search assistant software. Report from adotas.com here and press release from 180solutions here.
Just one week ago today, the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) filed a complaint with the FTC against 180solutions alleging unfair and deceptive business practices. In the past year, 180solutions has also been the target of several class action lawsuits, one in September and one in December, part of a joint suit against 180, DirectRevenue and eXact Advertising.
Update: Zone Labs has issued their own press release denying they reached a settlement or made any changes to their software in regard to the 180solutions detectiions and alerts.
"From the inception of the suit, we believed it had no merit," said John Slavitt, general counsel for Check Point Software Technologies, parent company of Zone Labs. "ZoneAlarm alerts are triggered by the behavior of a program, not its name. If the 180Solutions software exhibits suspicious behavior, we alert our customers accordingly. We did not make any concessions or reach a settlement after the suit was filed."
For example, if a customer downloads the 180Solutions’ Zango program today, the following ZoneAlarm alert is shown to the user: "Zango is attempting to monitor user activities on your computer. If allowed it may try to track or log keystrokes (user input), mouse movements/clicks, Web sites visited, and other user behaviors." (My emphasis)
The 180solutions press release says:
180solutions dismissed the case last week, without prejudice, due to ZoneAlarm's action to downgrade classification of 180solutions' S3-enabled search assistant software.
"Although the new labeling is still in our view overly aggressive, the immediate purpose of the lawsuit has been served," said Ken McGraw, chief compliance officer for 180solutions. "The labeling has been downgraded, and we are now able to pursue the business relationship that otherwise was not possible. Therefore, we are dismissing the case, without prejudice, leaving us the option to reinstate the litigation. We expect the current analysis of our software to remain as is, at worst, and are working towards a more accurate classification." (My emphasis)