Consumer Group Asks FTC To Sue Spyware Company
A pair of consumer groups today filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Canadian Competition Bureau urging the agencies to consider filing civil lawsuits against Integrated Search Technologies (IST), easily one of the most egregious spyware companies in terms of its aggressive and unethical installation practices.
The complaints were filed by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), a Washington, D.C., consumer technology group, and the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. The complaint centers on IST and several of its affiliates -- specifically NegativeBeats.com, ContextPlus, Meridian Business Ventures, Surf Accuracy and Internet Optimizer; CDT said the entities "used deceptive techniques to dupe Internet users into downloading software they did not ask to receive in exchange for little or no benefit."
You don't have to look far to find evidence of IST's online footprint, as it has managed to install its various toolbars on thousands of computers worldwide. The toolbars either hijack a user's browser and/or Internet search functionality, and/or bombard the user with a barrage of pop-up ads for porn sites.
The last time CDT raised a stink about IST, adware maker 180Solutions decided it was a smart move to terminate its business relationship with the company. In an interview with 180 a couple of weeks ago, 180 executives told me that move alone would slash IST's revenues by at least one-third. 180 maintains, however, that installs of its software that were bundled with IST's numerous slimy porn pop-up and search engine-hijacking toolbars accounted for less than 10 percent of 180's installs.
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