TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Washington Attorney General and Microsoft File Suit

Washington Attorney General and Microsoft File Suit

Reuters News Wire (
Wed, 25 Jan 2006 20:44:14 -0600

Washington AG, Microsoft file spyware scam suit

Washington state and Microsoft Corp. said on Wednesday they filed
civil suits against a New York-based company for violating the state's
anti-spyware law and called for cooperation between technology
companies and government to crack down on Internet fraud.

Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna accused Secure Computer LLC
and its associates of marketing software that falsely claims a
computer is infected with spyware in order to sell a program to clean
the PC when in fact the software makes the computer more susceptible
to attacks.

"Spyware has overtaken computer viruses as the number-one threat to
personal computer users," McKenna said in a statement. "This lawsuit
will make it clear to those who prey on consumers' fears about spyware
that we are no longer going to tolerate their heinous activities."

Malicious spyware can often track victims' Internet activity, hijack
their home pages and bombard them with pop-up ads.

The 16-count suit, filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle,
is the first lawsuit under Washington's new computer spyware act and
represents the growing cooperation between the technology sector,
lawmakers and regulators to limit unwanted tracking and advertising

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said it referred this case to the
attorney general's office and provided technical and forensic
assistance. Microsoft also filed a parallel suit in federal court.

"Microsoft continues to collaborate with many state attorneys general
to help protect computer users from the effects of spyware, spam and
cybercrime, such as identity theft," said Nancy Anderson, deputy
general counsel for Microsoft.

Microsoft's lawsuit also alleges Secure Computer used the software
giant's trademarks to falsely suggest Microsoft sponsored or approved
the ineffective Spyware Cleaner software.

Secure Computer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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