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Four Settle Bogus Spyware Case

Four people, all of whom were accused of promoting a fake and malicious software product that claimed to protect computers from spyware, have agreed to pay fines after a lawsuit by Microsoft and the Washington State Attorney General. The software, Secure Computer’s Spyware Cleaner, was advertised on Google AdWords for search terms like “Microsoft spyware cleaner,” and “Microsoft antispyware”, but not only didn’t remove spyware as it claimed to do, it actually made computers less secure.

In most of the cases, the accused made large percentages of the $49.95 cost of a copy of Spyware Cleaner, by referring users to purchase it. Microsoft was right to be irked when it saw that Google’s advertising platform was being used to generate those referrals. However, they earn my respect in showing the intelligence and restraint to sue the advertisers, not Google.

God knows there are many at Microsoft who would love to shove a lawsuit up Google’s collective, uh, something, but those sort of lawsuits do nothing but try to take advantage of poorly knowledgeable judges. Companies like Google, who run an automated system, should not be sued as service providers, and going after the users who abuse the system for their illegal means is the way to do it.

You hear that, Geico? American Blinds?

June 8th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | AntiSpyware, Google, Security, Law, General | no comments

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