Lavasoft News, September '06

State Takes on Spyware
The Washington State Attorney General's office in the United States has filed a second case under their 2005 anti-spyware law, accusing four California-based companies of violating both the Computer Spyware Act and Consumer Protection Act.

The Attorney General's Office is taking aim at Digital Enterprises, Alchemy Communications, AccessMedia Networks and Innovate Networks after thousands of consumers throughout the nation complained of unfair software practices.

A seven-month investigation by the Attorney General's Consumer Protection High-Tech Unit yielded a suit comprised of six causes. According to a news release by the Washington State Attorney General's office, the arguments range from "misrepresenting the method to uninstall software" to "using threats, harassment and intimidation in billing practices."

The defendants, who offer a three-day trial for several movie download services, such as movieland.com, require users to download software; many of the users say the software installs without prior consent. After the trial period, the software inundates users with persistent pop-up windows and aggressive payment demands.

The state detailed that, "If found liable, each defendant could be fined $100,000 per violation of the Computer Spyware Act and $2,000 per violation under the Consumer Protection Act. They may also be required to pay restitution to affected consumers."

Consumers who have experienced similar problems concerning the defendants in the state's suit can file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office at www.atg.wa.gov

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