FTC criticised for low adware fine

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Feb 20, 2007

Latest DirectRevenue case nets mere $1.5 million penalty.

Serial adware user DirectRevenue, along with several advertising clients, has agreed to settle a case brought by the US Federal Trade Commission, with total financial penalties amounting to $1.5 million.

The case accused the advertising purveyor of using deceptive and aggressive tactics in the distribution of its advertising, including the use of software vulnerabilities to install silently, and deliberately preventing the removal of software. The settlement requires the company to avoid such techniques in future, and to provide clear labelling of its advertising output, as well as simple removal techniques. The company is also instructed to maintain tighter controls over affiliates who may also be spreading the software in deceptive ways, and to stop sending ads to software installed prior to 1 October 2005.

The financial aspect of the settlement has drawn widespread criticism, with even one of the commission board calling the figure 'a disappointment' - DirectRevenue is thought to have made up to $20 million in profit from its deceptive and intrusive marketing software. The settlement has been left open by the FTC until the end of March, with comments invited from the public prior to finalising the decision.

The FTC statement on the decision, including contact details for comments, is here. A brief release from DirectRevenue on the issue (in PDF format) is here

Posted on 20 February 2007 by Virus Bulletin

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