FTC Seeks Civil Penalties For Spyware

  • June 12, 2008
Eileen Harrington, deputy director of the Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection, asked the U.S. Senate to increase the penalties for adware companies that improperly install pop-up serving software on users' computers.

Testifying at a hearing of the Senate commerce committee about spyware, Harrington said the FTC should be able to impose civil penalties in addition to ordering disgorgement of profits and restitution.

In her testimony, she revisited FTC enforcement actions against adware companies Zango and Direct Revenue, which agreed to pay $3 million and $1.5 million in disgorgements. "According to the Commission's complaints, the companies deliberately made those adware programs difficult for consumers to identify, locate, and remove from their computers, thus thwarting consumer efforts to end the intrusive pop-ups," she said.

--Wendy Davis

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