Thursday, April 28, 2005

NY Attorney General goes after spyware scumbags...

Attorney General of NY Spitzer has decided to go after the a-holes that are constantly loading up our computers with spyware.

According to, "Spyware applications are programs and files that hide on your PC's hard drive without your direct knowledge. These programs allow hackers and advertising companies to track your every move, both online and even when you work offline. They can track the websites you visit, the items that you buy online, the emails you send and receive, your Instant Message dialog, and worst of all they can even record your credit card number, personal identification numbers, and all of your passwords. If you use dial-up to connect to the Internet then spyware can be used to bill 900 numbers to your phone bill. This is just a short list of the harm that spyware can cause."

There are certain to be a whole bunch of lawyers and techies who will defend the right of parties to spam, hack, and basically cause harm to others under the guise of some constitutional right, but all legalese aside, if I walk into your office and take over your copy machine, telephone, or typewriter while you were in the middle of transacting business, nobody would seriously argue that is legal. But somehow, since this is being done over the internet, it's okay in the minds of these folks and the people they pay to agree with them.

Here's an excerpt from the article:
"Spitzer’s civil suit accuses Intermix of violating state General Business Law provisions against false advertising and deceptive business practices. He also accuses them of trespass under New York common law.

The company is accused of download ads and software that directs ads to a computer based on the user’s activities. Spitzer’s investigators said the downloads then attach to computers, often slowing their operation and crashing the computers as well as interfering with use of the computer through pop-up ads. Often the downloads were made without notice when a user visited a Web site, played a game or accepted a screen saver. Sometimes the user was asked permission through an often vague reference in a lengthy licensing agreement which could be misleading or inaccurate, investigators said."

The increasingly popular browser from Mozilla called "Firefox" is now capturing Explorer's market share and spyware developers are targeting it, but the firefox is nowhere near as vulnerable.


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