The Spyware Is Getting Settled — A Litigious List

cdtlogo.gifThe Center for Democracy and Technology has a thorough compendium of spyware lawsuits, both settled and pending. Here are some excerpts from the report and a quick list of that litigation below that. Note all the hefty fines, and yes, time in the slammer.

“[Since 2004]law enforcement officials have increasingly applied statutes – some long standing, some relatively new — to spyware cases. Leading the charge has been the FTC, which to date has brought six cases under its unfair and deceptive practices authority. The Department of Justice has actively pursued spyware purveyors under the CFAA and the Wiretap Act, with 11 cases to date. And three attorneys general at the state level have filed spyware lawsuits under state fraud and consumer protection laws, with two more cases initiated under new state spyware statutes.”

CDT encourages more states to join in by establishing consumer complaint sites about suspected spyware, establish or support computer forensic capabilities to investigate and verify spyware complaints, and train investigators and prosecutors to identify spyware attributes.

“Because spyware is a moving target, it requires attention from a multitude of sectors, from litigators to technologists and consumer advocates.”

Cases:
1. FTC v. Seismic Entertainment Productions, Inc., SmartBot, Inc., and Sanford Wallace
Result: SmartBot and Wallace barred from spyware-related activity, pay $4 million, in settlement, Lansky and OptinTrade ordered to pay $227,000, barred from spyware-related activity

2. FTC v. MaxTheater Inc, Thomas Delanoy
Result: barred from spyware-related activity, pay $76K

3. FTC v. TrustSoft, Inc., Swanksoft and SpyKiller, Danilo Ladendorf
Result: barred from spyware-related activity, pay $1.9 million 4. In the matter of Advertising.com, Teknosurf.com, John Ferber
Result: must clearly and conspicuously disclose that privacy applications are adware

5. FTC v. Odysseus Marketing Inc. and Walter Rines
Status: Preliminary injunction barring from related spyware activity

6. FTC v. Enternet Media, Inc. Conspy and Co, Inc. Lida Rohbani, Nima Hakimi, Baback Hakimi and Nicholas C. Albert
Status: Temporary restraining order, litigation pending

7. State of New York v. Intermix Media, Inc.
Result: Settlement reached, defendant to pay $7.5 million, banned from adware distribution, Intermix founder to pay $750,000 in penalties, affiliate Azez Software to pay $35,000

8. State of Texas v. Sony BMG Music Entertainment
Status: Litigation pending

9. State of Washington v. Secure Computer LLC, Paul E. Burke, Gary T. Preston, Manoj Kumar, Zhigan Chen, Seth T. Traub
Defendant Chen to consult with attorney before advertising ANYTHING and must pay $84,000, Preston to pay $7,200, Traub to pay $2,000

10. State of New York v. Direct Revenue, LLC and Joshua Abram, Alan Murray, Daniel Kaufman, Rodney Hook
Status: Litigation pending

11. State of Washington v. Software Online.com and David W. Plummer
Result: Settled, defendants to pay $440,000

12. United States v. Jerome T. Heckenkamp
Result: Dismissed

13. United States v. Van T. Dinh
Result: sentenced to 13 months in prison, must pay nearly $50,000

14. United States v. Juju Jiang
Result: sentenced to 27 months in prison, must pay $201,620

15. United States v. Carlos Enrique Perez-Melara
Result: Warrant issued for arrest

16. United States v. John J. Gannitto
Result: Sentence to 3 years supervised probation with 30 days in halfway house, 5 years supervised probation, related defendant sentenced to 3 years unsupervised probation, both to pay $500

17. United States v. Cheryl Ann Young
Status: awaiting sentencing of defendant

United States v. Christopher Maxwell
18. Result: Defendant pleaded guilty to all charges, awaiting sentencing

19. United States v. Jeanson James Ancheta
Result: Defendant sentenced to 57 months in prison, to pay $15,000

20. United States v. Kenneth Kwak
Result: Defendant sentenced to 5 months in prison, 5 months subsequent house arrest and must pay $40,000

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