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New York Attorney General Sues Spyware Company

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the sue-their-pants-off dept.

122

DevanJedi writes "Reuters is reporting that New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has sued alleged spyware company Direct Revenue, charging the Internet marketer with secretly installing millions of spyware programs that sent unsolicited advertisements to users' computers. Direct Revenue settled a class action law suit last month in Illinois."

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IN THE SLASHDOT FAGGOT JUSTICE SYSTEM (0, Troll)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062659)

There are two kinds of fags - the editors, who make you read shitty fag stories, and yourselves who read them. This is your story...

Re:IN THE SLASHDOT FAGGOT JUSTICE SYSTEM (1)

butterwise (862336) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063365)

Does that make you a fag hag?

Re:IN THE SLASHDOT FAGGOT JUSTICE SYSTEM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063524)

I thought that the only two kinds of fags were givers and takers...

No, you can't have a constitution (3, Interesting)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062663)

Spitzer also asked the court to compel the company to account for its revenue

5th amendment surrenders?

As much as they're probably guilty, the court should not be able to say "prove you didn't do X or we'll hold it against you"

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062684)

Yes, this isn't a criminal case. I'll take a 5 yard penalty and sit out the remainder of this discussion.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062712)

Hmm, actually Wikipedia agrees with my original assessment:

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the privilege against self-incrimination applies whether the witness is in Federal or state court (see Malloy v. Hogan, 378 U.S. 1 (1964)), and whether the proceeding itself is criminal or civil (see McCarthy v. Arndstein, 266 U.S. 34 (1924)).

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (3, Informative)

SinGunner (911891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062820)

Isn't it already a crime to hide the source of your revenue though? Isn't this how they bring down the mob? Basically, in America, if you can't account for where your money came from, you're in pretty hot water. The IRS needs its money... neeeedddsssss.......

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (0, Redundant)

Chr0nik (928538) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063107)

LOL, nnnneeeeeedddddssssss... hehe. ahhh, good times.

We needses our moneyses. We Looooovees our moneys. Yesssss...*GOLEM* Nasty little citizenses. Nasty little businesses.. Give us our precioussss... *GOLEM*

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063570)

Basically, in America, if you can't account for where your money came from, you're in pretty hot water
actually for a company above a certain size from to and where it is stored is all under regs. SOX is the one where the C{E|F}O has to sign off on the ftc reports (includes other things also).

"hot water" hasn't been this bad since the cannibals stopped using big pots

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062825)

Two questions for the non-lawyers: 1) Does the fact that it's a company make a difference? Does a company have 5th ammendment rights? 2) You can be subpoena'd to produce documents. You can refuse to produce those documents based on your 5th ammendment rights, and that can't be held as evidence against you. But... since this is Civil, the burden of the State's proof is much lower. Can't they just assert that the illegal things you did made you some astronomical amount of money based on some theory, and hope the judge/jury just takes it? Basically play on the jury's sentiments

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062862)

corporations do not have 5th amendment rights.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

Chr0nik (928538) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063142)

Yeah, I'm pretty sure you can't withhold evidence, you can refuse to testify against yourself and that's it. I could be wrong on this, but if the 5th included physical evidence, people would be posthumously excluding their DNA based on the 5th amendment as well...

Then we'd have no CSI. And we'd still have Enron..

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

Captain DaFt (755254) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064282)

"people would be posthumously excluding their DNA "

Geez, I am so hoping you meant "retro-actively"!

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

mctk (840035) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062724)

Wha? Isn't a company already compelled to account for its revenue?

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

takeya (825259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063152)

No, not unless the court subpoenas it as relevant evidence.

In this case it clearly is not.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

ThatsNotFunny (775189) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062817)

I know some people in the Waste Management industry who agree with your legal perspective.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (5, Informative)

kiddailey (165202) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062829)

Since when do the amendments apply to corporations?
"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
IANAL, but as far as I knew, the privilege against self-incrimination does not apply to corporations or other collective entities. And, after some brief research, appears to have been upheld in Braswell v. United States [google.com] .

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

cultrhetor (961872) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062854)

Corporate entities were created and identified to simplify the legal system, as stupid as it sounds. In a legal sense, the corporation is a person.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15062888)

No, they aren't.

When a corporation can have sex I'll agree they are a person, until then anybody who thinks they are people make plain their ignorance about the facts of life.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

rahrens (939941) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062940)

Legalities don't recognize sex as a trait - a corporation is legally just as much a person as you or I, and accordingly enjoy the same constitutional protections as a real person...and that, my friend is a fact of life, albeit a bit more advanced than birds and bees...

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15062959)

Of course the law recognizes sex as a trait. Sexual battery, sexual harassment, prison sentences based on sex the list only goes on. You fake lawyers take yourselves so seriously, it would be funny if it were no so dangerous.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (2, Informative)

takeya (825259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063181)

Whether or not you like it, what the OP meant by sex is not a trait of a person in the eyes of the law is that in order to recieve constitutional benefits (or any legal benefit) guaranteed to a "person," you must be either an individual or a corporation. An unincorporated company or firm does not fall under this definition, though almost every company is incorporated, even mom&pop are an LLC now, since it's so easy to do, and individual errors appear legally as errors of the corporate "person" and only the corporations assets are liable in a lawsuit, rather than the employee's.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (0, Offtopic)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062962)

a corporation is legally just as much a person as you or I, and accordingly enjoy the same constitutional protections as a real person

Only if the judge chooses to recognize corporations as people who have constitutional rights.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

rahrens (939941) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063130)

Our legal system doesn't work that way. It may vary from state to state, but corporations' rights are set in law, and are not subject to a judge's whim. It may be up to the whim of the legislature, but not individual judges.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064148)

Laws are a matter of interpretation (unless you can find me a lesgislation that says "corporations are legal humans and are given all constitutional rights").

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (2, Funny)

Procyon101 (61366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063051)

Which is exactly why homosexuals can legally marry corporations in all states.

wait...

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (2, Funny)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062976)

Ahh, see...there's your problem. You're thinking of 'sex' as two people, some candles, maybe a bottle of wine and a nice comfortable bed.

Corporations have sex in the form of massive anal rape gangbangs, a la Sony/First4Internet.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

ChrisGilliard (913445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062944)

the privilege against self-incrimination does not apply to corporations or other collective entities.

Yes, corporations can't self-incriminate themselves and they can't even be incriminated at all. That is they can only be sued civily. There are obvious reasons for this. First and foremost, you cannot send a corporation to jail. You can however try the directors or officers of the corporations for criminal charges if they committed crimes in which the corporation is civily liable. But the only recourse against a corporation is a financial recourse.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063897)

Corporations can also be destroyed by the state which charters them when they operate outside the scope of their charter, or violate it, through charter revocation [google.com] .

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (0, Flamebait)

LeonGeeste (917243) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063068)

Aw. Too bad. Guess the constitution "only" prohibits them from compelling individuals in the corporation from testifying against their interests. Wait, that's the same thing. Moron.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (3, Insightful)

cultrhetor (961872) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062830)

Before flaming Spitzer with our vast knowledge of the Constitution, we should be sure that we understand the document. It's Amendment 4 that states

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Next: what about the rights of computer owners? Spyware is installed, without consent, on personal computers (mostly Windoze boxes), which are recognized spaces of personal property. In one sense, it is quite similar to breaking and entering - our legal system is still rooted in the 17th century, and hasn't yet caught up to the idea that a computer is a space: it contains personal artifacts (messages, documents, calendars, etc.) - much as a room or a drawer in a home. Shouldn't that be just as protected as a home?

I will agree, people who don't/can't protect their computers are just as foolish as people who leave their doors unlocked while on vacation; however, if someone enters without permission, even if the door is unlocked, the intruder is still criminally liable.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (2, Insightful)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063474)

Why is everyone quoting the constitution here, you've got the right article, but it's barely applicable, and doesn't prevent a search at all.

Asking a judge to issue a Subphoena is the process of trying to establish "Probable cause" - if it's likely that an individual or corporation committed a crime, and a search of something they own (Residence, place of business, financial records, etc.) would likely prove that crime was committed, a judge can authorize a search.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063771)

Spitzer is a profit hound. He is chewing up the courts with lawsuit after lawsuit and threat after threat in an attempt to back-fill New York coffers. Check and see how many of the suits he has filed, or has threatened to file came to quick multi-million dollar settlements. Is a settlement really justice?

How about, I'll steal your grandmothers wooden leg, beat her with it, take pictures of the crime and sell them on the internet. You can then sue me and I'll give you 25% of my ill-gotten gains, the shoe off your grandmothers wooden leg, and a solemn promise that I'll never do THAT ever, ever, ever again - scouts honor.

Do you know how many pharmaceutical companies, insurance carriers, gambling businesses, software vendors, and other businesses that Spitzer has strong armed over his last few years in office? Do you know the percentage that actually went all the way to court. It's more expedient to pay the bribe/extortion/bill/fine/agreement than to waste time battling out whether or not you actually did anything at all illegal. Spitzer's favorite argument is that companies are profiting too much and can't justify those profits and therefore must be stealing from someone. But some people like that. They feel that he's out there "getting the bad guys", but really he's just a small time thug.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

electr01nik (598106) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064310)

Spitzer is running for Governor... but I'm sure that has nothing to do with it.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (3, Interesting)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064617)

Spitzer has been pissing off rich and powerful people for a long time, with about the same fervor whether or not he's seen as running for Governor. I think he gets off on bringing the big guys down, and IMO, the more power to him.

If he _does_ get elected Governor, I hope every crooked politician & business executive in his state go bankrupt from the dry-cleaning bills that they have to pay to clean their underwear every time he makes a move.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 8 years ago | (#15065099)

Next: what about the rights of computer owners? Spyware is installed, without consent, on personal computers (mostly Windoze boxes), which are recognized spaces of personal property. In one sense, it is quite similar to breaking and entering

I'm more inclined to think of it as rape, but maybe that's taking it too far. Maybe we should be thinking of cracking + rootkit installation as someone breaking into your home and crapping on your sofa.

I will agree, people who don't/can't protect their computers are just as foolish as people who leave their doors unlocked while on vacation; however, if someone enters without permission, even if the door is unlocked, the intruder is still criminally liable.

The laws definately need to be clarified I think though - certainly the UK Computer Misuse Act is very open to interpretation. What constitutes "unauthorised access"?

If someone connects to your web server, who authorised the access? In this case it's reasonable to assume that a web server that's open to the public network provides implicitly authorised access... or is it?

What if your web server is actually just the web interface on your DSL router that you didn't bother securing? The web server is open to the public network so surely it has implicitly authorised the access, right?

If we extend the idea, surely accessing *any* port on your machine that you left open to the world without needing authentication should be considered authorised - in that case, if you leave your windows server with your hard drive shared to the world should it be considered illegal for someone to connect to it and delete all your data?

And in these cases the client is actually going and connecting to these ports to find out if they are open - when you connect to a web server you didn't _know_ the port was open to the world until you tried connecting to it. This isn't the case for open 802.11 networks though - in this case the network is actively inviting you to connect to it so shouldn't accessing that be considered _more_ "authorised" than a web server which didn't invite you? The authorities seem to think not since several people have been arrested for using open access points.

I'm not sure these problems are solvable by changing the computer misuse laws though - maybe passing some laws that _require_ manufacturers to ship devices in a secure configuration is the way to go.

But anyway, my rant is going way off topic :)

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

cswiger2005 (905744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15065424)

Perhaps, but it was a fairly good rant. :)

"If someone connects to your web server, who authorised the access? In this case it's reasonable to assume that a web server that's open to the public network provides implicitly authorised access... or is it?"

Leaving a port open does not by itself constititute authorization.

If you publish a www.example.com record in the DNS, it would be entirely reasonable to assume that you've authorized people to stop by your website, yes. There are other conventions which apply, such as having a /robots.txt file, or a W3C privacy policy, or "Terms of use", etc.

Note that this does not mean that launching a set of requests to exploit, say, a PHP vulnerability, would be OK just because the machine is listed in the DNS. Legitimate users would have a very different click-trail than someone trying to break in.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 8 years ago | (#15065681)

If you publish a www.example.com record in the DNS, it would be entirely reasonable to assume that you've authorized people to stop by your website, yes.

So does that mean I'm breaking the law if I visit http://example.com/ [example.com] rather than http://www.example.com/ [example.com] since it didn't explicitly tell me through a published DNS record that it was a public web server?

or "Terms of use"

How would I find out about the terms of using your web site without visiting the website in the first place?

Note that this does not mean that launching a set of requests to exploit, say, a PHP vulnerability

Absolutely - if you are obviously having to circumvent some security (nomatter how crap) then you probably shouldn't be doing it. But what I'm saying is that when people leave systems completely open why should the "client" be held responsible for this rather than the "server" - in many cases it's impossible to tell (at least before connecting to a service) whether it was intended to be a legitimately public service or not. Using 802.11 as an example - when I see an open 802.11 network broadcasting invitations for me to use it how would I be expected to know if it's accidentally open or intentionally open?

You fire up Windows, it tells you "oh look there's an access point", you click ok and the access point hands you an IP address via DHCP - how were you to know that was a private access point that some idiot left open?

Worse than this, say I had an open Linksys access point at home which was left in it's default configuration, so my laptop knows to associate with an AP called "Linksys", I then move in range of another open Linksys access point which is broadcasting it's SSID of "Linksys" my laptop would happilly associate with it without asking me. Should I be arrested because my laptop associated with someone else's network automatically?

I certainly agree that people who are circumventing some security are in the wrong and need to be dealt with, but I'm very worried about the trend to treat people who don't bother to secure their systems as "innocent" and people who make use of these public systems as "guilty".

If I walk into a public house and ask for a beer, I don't expect to get arrested because "oops we didn't mean for it to look like a public house" :)

People need to take responsibility for their own actions - if you didn't bother to turn on the basic security options on your systems then that's _your_ fault - the other party that takes advantage of that lack of security may not be malicious.

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (5, Informative)

Apraxhren (964852) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063073)

IANAL but the Required Records Doctrine of the 5th amendment states
While the privilege is applicable to one's papers and effects,\226\ it does not extend to corporate persons, hence corporate records, as has been noted, are subject to compelled production.\227\
See: http://www.law.cornell.edu/anncon/html/amdt5afrag7 _user.html#amdt5a_hd28 [cornell.edu]

Re:No, you can't have a constitution (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063887)

You think that corporations are persons, and entitled to the same Constitutional protection as humans?

So who gets the cash ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15062664)


the owners/companies who have had to spend billions on getting their PC's fixed/replaced ?
can other countries join the suit ?

Funding for Bush's Internet War (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062866)

All the dough will go to the feds... Perhaps they'll just set up the malware vendors as the next wave of cyber munitions makers.

Spitzer eh? (4, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062666)

From what I understand, his style is to pick a fight and make a lot of noise about it in the press.

The defendants are usually judged guilty by the court of public opinion, long before an actualy jury gets near the case.

I'm not saying his technique is good or bad, but it's worth noting that more often than not, he gets a settlement instead of a drawn out legal battle.

Re:Spitzer eh? (1)

NewmanBlur (923584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062737)

Yup. He went after a bunch of mutual fund companies a couple years ago http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_fund_scandal_( 2003) [wikipedia.org] that got big press. I was living overseas at the time and it was in the news. I think he went after H&R Block at one point as well, but I haven't looked that up.

This guy is definitely the most high profile State Attorney General in the country, and he does have a pattern of making his targets look bad in the media.

Re:Spitzer eh? (1)

Sqwubbsy (723014) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062867)

and he does have a pattern of making his targets look bad in the media.

As well as himself [google.com] .

Re:Spitzer eh? (2, Insightful)

HiThere (15173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062886)

At least he's been choosing people that deserve to be made to look bad. There have been much worse prosecutors.

The only thing wrong with his approach is the culprits get off easier than they should. The positive side is that if he didn't attack them, they'd get off scot-free.

Re:Spitzer eh? (1)

VoxCombo (782935) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063057)

gee, why would a guy in his shoes want to make a lot of noise in the press? I'm sure it has nothing to do with his campaign. (for those outside of NY, he's running for Governor)

Re:Spitzer eh? (1)

The Warlock (701535) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063232)

And I'll fucking vote for him, as he's a fuckton better than Pataki, the incumbent.

Running for Governor (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064557)

From what I understand, his style is to pick a fight and make a lot of noise about it in the press.

I suspect the Press part is what's important here. I saw a 'Spitzer for Governor' ad on my NYC WNBC satellite feed this weekend on McLaughin Group.

Re:Spitzer eh? (4, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064900)

From what I understand, his style is to pick a fight and make a lot of noise about it in the press.

The defendants are usually judged guilty by the court of public opinion, long before an actualy jury gets near the case.

This is disingenuous at least. These companies were convicted in the court of public opinion LONG before Spitzer got involved.

The fact that the Attorney General is prosecuting the companies that 99% of the public-at-large believe NEED to be sued, seems just about EXACTLY what his position is supposed-to entail. We're just so used-to corporate/political bribery and favors that we're shocked when we see elected officials aggressively doing their job.

Ok... (3, Interesting)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062668)

We see all of this, and yet no one has bothered to sue Claria yet... even AFTER they announced their restructuring plan.

Please sue Claria!

Re:Ok... (1)

Parallax Blue (836836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062827)

Yes, on one hand it's good to see some action against companies that use spyware and adware in their business model, but on the other hand you're right: what about the BIG spyware/adware companies? I can think of one that I'd LOVE to see taken down: C2Media. C2Lop is a NASTY piece of spyware/adware for sure.

Re:Ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063200)

Wasn't the CEO (or CIO?) of Claria made US cybersecurity czar? That should protect them from state litigation (unfortunately).

Forget NY governor, get him to be US AG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15062673)

Send him to the U.S. Attorney General's office - it'd probably better for both him and us USians. Forget NY governorship. When's the last time NY Governor's gone off to do anything interesting. Pattaki is a loser, and Cuomo has disappeared.

Re:Forget NY governor, get him to be US AG (4, Informative)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062965)

When's the last time NY Governor's gone off to do anything interesting.

I hear FDR did a few interesting things after he was Governor of New York.

He's been suit-happy the past few years (5, Insightful)

Attackman (95672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062675)

Spitzer really REALLY wants to run New York State, so he's been suing everyone the last few years. He's the one that nailed AOL for not letting customers cancel their accounts.
Doesn't bother me much. All the suits he launches appear to come from complaints to his office, so he's "working for the people" as much as he's in business for himself. Plus, he's suing people that I have issues with myself: spyware companies, AOL, the RIAA.
I just might be pushing the button under Mr. Spitzer's name when it comes election time. Hopefully all he's after isn't just the bigger office in Albany.

Suit happy? He's the AG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15062818)

Suit happy? lol. He's the attorney for the state.. I'd think he'd be doing plenty of suing, don't you?

Re:Suit happy? He's the AG! (1)

Attackman (95672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062893)

Yes, it would be expected, but you don't see every state's AG suing corporation's like it's going out of style. These recent big press-drawing cases in Spitzer's recent legal orgasm are not the norm for him. He's doing more than he's reasonably expected to to garner favorable press and to great good will among the populace (and just to simply let people know who he is). His recent political ads highlight this.
So yes, I expect the AG to do a lot of suing. Just not to this extent.

Re:He's been suit-happy the past few years (2, Interesting)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063536)

I don't think it's that AG Elliott Spitzer wants to run NY as much as he is filling a tremendous void left by the absymal, nonperforming and nonfunctioning F.B.I., who appears to be involved with far too many of their very own inhouse scandals and problems.

The F.B.I. should really be doing everything the Mr. Spitzer is doing, but thank goodness at least he's doing it!!!!

You know, if this country had an F.B.I. director like Mr. Spitzer, as opposed to that useless shyster, Mueller, or better yet, a real attorney general at the federal level......

Re:He's been suit-happy the past few years (1)

Attackman (95672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063572)

Well, the only reason that I assert that the want to run the state is because he's running for governor [spitzer2006.com]
(above is not intended as political endorsement, just backing myself up :) )

Re:He's been suit-happy the past few years (1)

blunts and drink (965045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064893)

If he fought against AOL for not allowing customers to cancel their accounts, Pray-tell why did I have them denie me that over and over, and when I finally did get them to agree guess what... I got billed after supposedly "canceling"

DirectRevenue developers should do jail time (4, Interesting)

mrheckman (939480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062688)

I had personal experience with Direct Revenue's adware that took many hours to remove. Imagine how many hours have been spent by people trying to clean up their computers from their adware. I think it is a shame that the developers were able to escape with just a fine from the Illinois lawsuit. They should have to do hard time -- at least one hour for every hour spent by people trying to remove their software. How many years do you think that would add up to?

Re:DirectRevenue developers should do jail time (1)

UngodAus (198713) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063080)

Don't blame the developers. Blame the architects/management. 90% of the time, ideas this evil are because a pointy-haired has decided it's a Good Idea(tm) and has mandated that it must be a piece of the software. There are many times I have railed against a bad idea that has been poorly thought out by management/architects, some of them I've won against, some lost, some I've just walked away.

Re:DirectRevenue developers should do jail time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063529)

I think I've heard that one before. Nuremburg, wasn't it?

Re:DirectRevenue developers should do jail time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063264)

Fuck hours, how about money? You and I remove spyware ourselves, or don't get it in the first place. You and I remove spyware for our families and friends (despite it being a horrendous pain in the ass).

Not everyone has a geek in the family. So they go to the local geekery and pay upwards of $80 for "computer repair", namely, a quick run of Spybot/Ad-Aware/MSAS/whatever, followed by a backup-and-reformat if that method fails. Lots of people do this. Hell, I thought about making money off of it myself, but I'm not really business-oriented enough.

The point I'm trying to make is that there is genuine financial damage being done here, not just people spending some of their time removing this crap.

"But it's in the EULA!" (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062704)

Can you already see the defense? "But it's in the EULA!" is what will be said. You agreed to about a billion pages of legalese, of course after reading it.

As long as such EULAs can be used as an excuse to claim the user waived all rights and allowed the company to do whatever they please, hidden in a text nobody but a lawyer can decypher, we'll have buggy software, spyware and, as we've recently seen, even rootkits in our soft. Sure, EULAs don't hold a drop of water in most countries, but it already starts at the problem that most people don't even KNOW that the software they're about to install is going to cause a problem to them.

And as long as such shady practices don't have to be told in simple terms that can be understood by normal people who didn't study CS or law, this practice will continue. Whether or not this suit actually gets through.

He might be fined a few million bucks. Ok. Pocket change for the average spam king. As long as the revenue from illegal activities outmatch the possible damage charges (see also Sony's rootkit and the "settlement"), it won't stop them from bugging their users' computers.

Re:"But it's in the EULA!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15062745)

How can a contract be "used as an excuse"?
And why are people installing software that they do not know the origin of, don't know exactly what it does, are not willing to read the contract before signing?

I understand the itend of your post but think about the implications of what you are saying on a broader (any contract) spectrum.

Re:"But it's in the EULA!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15062843)

"hidden in a text nobody but a lawyer can decypher"

but... but... thats admitting that lawyers have the capability of serving some useful function!?

Re:"But it's in the EULA!" (1)

cHiphead (17854) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063140)

Make 10 million dollars dealing drugs, spend 6 years in prison, retire. Most illegal professions could potentially end up worth a few years in prison. Its all a matter of being a.) willing and able to defend your precious virgin ass in prison and b.) just being a self centered p-o-s in general and not caring what effect your illegal actions could have on others, innocent or not.

Cheers!

Not yours (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062711)

Not yours. [state.de.us]

=)

Re:Not yours (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062763)

When I saw "not yours", I thought of that image of a little girl crying with a small thumbnail pic of a pony. And of course, the caption on the picture says "Not Yours".

Anyways, for everyone who didn't click the link, it's a picture of the U.S. Bill of Rights.

Re:Not yours (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063285)

Yeah, that's what I had in mind. =) Some other fellow posted "No you can't have a constitution"...but like a dork I replied to the thread instead of him. Woulda made more sense. Ah well. Never post when sleep deprived.

Re:Not yours (1)

gkhan1 (886823) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063249)

What the hell is that brown stain at the bottom? Did James Madison spill coffee on the Bill of Rights? I can just see Ben Franklin tearing him a new one for that... (I have no idea who wrote the bill of rights, so I apologise if I got the characters wrong. Hey, can any of you name a founding father of sweden? Didn't think so....)

No, the cat does not "got my tongue." (5, Interesting)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062744)

> Direct Revenue settled a class action law suit last month in Illinois

Don't let them settle a lawsuit! Make the assholes release software to de-install itself, safely and completely.

Son of a bitch, I had to re-stage my wife's laptop because of Winfixer.

bah N,Y. is just pissed (0)

atarione (601740) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062813)

that they failed to increase both penis length and girth.

Eliot is a Jedi (0)

i_heart_elliot (966149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062834)

I will name my first born Eliot.

Eliot Spitzer: Is he cool, or is he whack? (1)

Douglas Simmons (628988) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062859)

I cannot make up my mind about this guy. I like this move, I hate his anti-online gambling [winneronline.com] moves. And then I saw him on CNBC's Mad Money with what's-his-name and he seemed like an aimeable dude.
So,

Eliot Spitzer: Is he cool, or is he whack?

Re:Eliot Spitzer: Is he cool, or is he whack? (4, Interesting)

mhollis (727905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062992)

Actually, niether. He's a politician.

I generally like what he has been doing, which mostly amounts to leveling the playing field between big business and the people -- but one can easily see the opportunitism here of a very political animal in the cases he takes on and how his PR machine works it. He was elected by mostly Democrats to be the Attorney General under a Republican Governor with whom he has had a mostly uneven relationship. He did not challenge this Governor (Pataki) until the Governor announced that he is planning on leaving office, though he has gone after many of the Governor's financiers and political cronies.

In not running against this particular governor, he has set his office up as a stepping-stone to the office of Governor for himself. A very shrewd move. Were he to have remained as a candidate for Attorney General (especially with the favorable press he has been receiving in the state of New York) I'd say he's close to 90% altruistic -- a very hard-working prosecutor with an eye for the kind of justice that sells newspapers. By virtue of his run for Governor and the timing of that run, I'd say he's about 50 to 55% altruistic and would probably make a pretty good, if not combative Governor.

I recall another prosecutor who is rumored to have made a good executive: Giuliani. But Rudy Giuliani was best-suited to crisis management. He tended to get bored and pick fights (usually with the helpless) when things got quiet. Unfortunately I think Rudy has sold his soul to the Republican right (which is wrong).

My overall favorable impression of Mr. Spitzer will, likewise, tumble should he sell his soul to a national political machine. These types are best when they're fighting the good fight with no hangers-on and no encumbrances.

Re:Eliot Spitzer: Is he cool, or is he whack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15064379)

Eliot Spitzer: Is he cool, or is he whack?

That's an easy one. He's actually on the side of the people, on the side of you and me. Totally cool. Washington State needs an Eliot Spitzer.

Fix the law. (5, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062913)

I'd like to see it made illegal for software to resist an uninstall (e.g. reinstalling itself on the next reboot). Seriously, if you want it gone and it's your machine who the hell do they think they are to stop you?

Re:Fix the law. (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063282)

The spyware brats would just claim it is a "self repair" feature that repairs the app if it detects it's become "damaged". (ripped out by its roots by the user)

If I were writing laws, I'd make auto repair on reboot by anything short of an OS unlawful unless the user was prompted clearly with a fixed text message asking if they wanted the app to be repaired/reinstalled.

Re:Fix the law. (1)

morie (227571) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064653)

Next: Spyware OS-es

It will be an ongoing battle one way or another.

Re:Fix the law. (1)

Arramol (894707) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063708)

There was a bill being passed around that would do that (http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,114999, 00.asp [pcworld.com] ), not sure what happened to it. /Offtopic - I want a T-shirt with your signature about rights management on it.

Good lawsuit. Wrong target. (-1, Flamebait)

birdowner (635361) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062933)

This is silly. Spyware exists because it has the right incentives. The real target for this lawsuit should be Microsoft. If it was not for their OS, the spyware companies would not have the incentives.

  Spyware exists because for a very low cost, you can take over a given Windows machine. I've used many platforms over the years, and Windows is the only one susceptible to spyware.

  So fire away, but at the right target.

Re:Good lawsuit. Wrong target. (4, Informative)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062975)

Is there anywhere on Slashdot that is free of this anti-Microsoft bullshit?

In no way is this Microsoft's fault. Spyware can be installed on ANY machine that is not completely locked down. Keep in mind that most spyware is installed alongside other programs during "legitimate" installations (or even part of the program itself, see Gator / Bonzi Buddy). If you give the users the ability to install any program they want, then they can also install spyware. This could happen on a Mac. This could happen on a Linux box. This could happen on ANY COMPUTER that can have programs installed on it.

Re:Good lawsuit. Wrong target. (5, Informative)

dlZ (798734) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063112)

I write this reply from a Linux box. What do I do for a living? I own a PC shop. A huge amount of what I do is removing spyware from computers. I don't think this is Windows fault. The people that bring the PCs in many times admit to what they did, saying they didn't care and just clicked yes to make it all go away. These same people would type their password and hit OK just to make it "go away" on a Mac or in a Linux GUI, too.

I run Linux because I want to and enjoy it, not because I'm on some anti-MS agenda. I sell mostly Windows machines. Most of my clients couldn't handle a Linux machine, but the anti-MS proganda on /. is extreme.

I guess we must both be new here.

Re:Good lawsuit. Wrong target. (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064881)

Keep in mind that most spyware is installed alongside other programs during "legitimate" installations

Yeah, but it's still perfectly fair to blame Microsoft for the ~10% of spyware installations that happen due to bugs in Internet Explorer, DirectX, VBScript, etc.

Re:Good lawsuit. Wrong target. (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062981)

Oh please.

Do I sue Ford when someone steals my Mustang? They obviously didn't make it secure enough.

Beware false sense of security (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064210)

You've got a point if you're only thinkng of drive-by downloads. Spyware scum, if we deprive them of the chance to do drive-bys, will put even more work into what I call EULA-ware, where there's some obfuscated text at line 1000 of a document shown in a 3-line scroll window which says in effect "by clicking this you give us permission to install keyloggers, send your credit card number to Belarus, and you agree never to uninstall our software". EULA-ware is really just a kind of Trojan, attached to bait such as weather forecasts, form fillin assistants, or animated cursors.

EULA-ware is a cross-platform threat. You'd need mandatory access control or the equivalent to stop it. Non-Windows users are having a better experience *now*, there's a little bit of speedbump to the attacker if the user is not running as root, but that won't stop good social engineering.

Re:Good lawsuit. Wrong target. (2)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064484)

Next time someone gets carjacked, lets sue Toyota.. after all, they should have mounted machine guns to take care of any intruders.

Dumbass.

And for more fun..... (4, Informative)

wehup (567821) | more than 8 years ago | (#15062936)

Here's the AG's site: http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/2006/apr/apr04a_0 6.html [state.ny.us] But the real fun is in reading the actual complaint. It is clear the AG does not think highly of Direct Revenue. http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/2006/apr/Direct%2 0Revenue%20Affirmation%20of%20Justin%20Brookman.pd f [state.ny.us] Caution... large PDF, but a fascinating read.

Re:And for more fun..... (1)

kawika (87069) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063477)

The Brookman Affirmation is definitely an fascinating read. They got hold of plenty of internal emails that totally nail these guys. From the account in that pdf it seems like their CTO Dan Doman was trying to warn these guys they had stepped over the line but the money was talking a lot louder. For example, when they put in an Add/Remove entry their revenue went down, so of course they took it back out. They had some distributors that requested Add/Remove entries so they would put them in and then stealth-remove them after a few days. When they changed the minimum time between popups from 1 minute to 2 minutes their revenue dropped by 15 percent, so they moved it back and eventually they dropped it down to 45 seconds! Their internal emails bragged about how hard it was to remove the software. These guys knew exactly what they were doing.

The Direct Revenue response [direct-revenue.com] is basically "We did nothing wrong, and besides we're not doing it anymore." So people shouldn't be punished for past crimes?

As a spyware company... (2, Funny)

butterwise (862336) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063333)

...they probably saw it coming.

Obligatory PMITAP reference (1)

sinij (911942) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063419)

I hope they all go to Pound me in the ass prison but not before Jury find them guilty.

FWAI`LZORS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15063706)

Java IRC clien7 FreeBSD had long bloc in order to th3 hard drive to intentions and

Rough Rider (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15063915)

Spitzer is the frontrunner in the upcoming 2006 NY state governor election. His career is starting to remind me of Teddy Roosevelt's [wikipedia.org] .

So what happens when (0, Offtopic)

andrewa (18630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064341)

the city manager of Tuttle gets some spyware on his pc....?

Sony off scotch free? (1)

xvalentinex (961506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064503)

Hmmm.... interesting, but where is Sony's lawsuit for all the rootkits they installed?
I won't hold my breath for that one.

Whats the draw to settle (1)

Instine (963303) | more than 8 years ago | (#15064587)

What's the point of settling if (and for cowardly reasons, I'm not saying they are) you are already a company with a reputation for being a bunch of evil spyware spreading SOBs. I mean what the 'bad publicity' going to do other than drum up more customers?

The New Untouchables (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15064980)

Eliot Spitzer and his crew are the new untouchables, when he comes knocking it is brown alert! and imminent change of underwear. He has gone up against the inept and corrupt funds companies and made them pay. These are companies that could afford to slog it out in court but chose to fold instead.

Why doesn't other attornies work like him?
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