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October 7, 2005

FTC Sues Spammer Over Illegal Spyware Operation

From the FTC press release:

According to the complaint filed by the FTC, Odysseus Marketing and its principal, Walter Rines, advertised software they claimed would allow consumers to engage in peer-to-peer file sharing anonymously. With claims like “DOWNLOAD MUSIC WITHOUT FEAR,” and “DON’T LET THE RECORD COMPANIES WIN,” the defendants encouraged consumers to download their free software. The agency charges that the claims are bogus. First, the software does not make file-sharing anonymous. Second, the cost to consumers is considerable because the “free” software is bundled with spyware called Clientman that secretly downloads dozens of other software programs, degrading consumers’ computer performance and memory. Among other things, this accumulated software replaces or reformats search engine results. For example, consumers who downloaded the spyware may try to conduct a Google or Yahoo! search. Their screens will reveal a page that appears to be the Google or Yahoo! search engine result, but the page is a copy-cat site, and the order of the search results is rigged to place the defendants’ clients first. The bundled software programs also generate pop-up ads and capture and transmit information from the consumers’ computers to servers controlled by the defendants.

The full press release is here.  Text of the complaints and other related documents are here.  The case is FTC v. Odysseus Marketing, Inc., and Walter Rines, Defendants, United States District Court, District of New Hampshire, FTC File No. 042 3205.

October 7, 2005 | Permalink

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