Choking Spyware Off At The Source Sounds Nice, But Don't Count On It
from the going-after-demand dept
The FTC has been going after spyware distributors for quite some time, but for the most part, their efforts have been ineffective. So, law enforcement officials are expanding their efforts against those companies that actually advertise in this manner. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, picking up where his predecessor left off, has already squeezed fines out of a few companies that he says advertised using spyware. And now the FTC is looking to follow suit, as it sends letters to companies, warning them that their ads are appearing on spyware. The problem with this, as we’ve pointed out before, is that it’s not clear that the companies are actually breaking the law. It sounds all well and good to say that the way to defeat spyware is to choke off the money at the source, but in practice it’s much more difficult, and enforcement actions are likely to have undesired consequences. A lot of online advertising is placed through various partner and affiliate programs, so money is handed off from one party to the next, without much of an idea how an ad will be placed. If the government tries to limit this activity, it’s bound to hurt plenty of legitimate advertising programs at the same time. It’s better to actually focus on those parties that are knowingly breaking the law, rather than to go after companies that aren’t really in a position to do anything about the problem.
Comments on “Choking Spyware Off At The Source Sounds Nice, But Don't Count On It”
Man I hate that friggin stuff…. and with all the stupid people out there keeping it goin’.. grr makes me so mad! People should be given an IQ test at aroundage 12 and those that fall below a certain line be shot or used for scientific reasearch.
Keep it Juicy!
Hate to say it but...
Microsoft is primarily to blame for the many back doors in Windows that encouraged this sort of thing. I have read from several sources that Microsoft has had its hands in the spyware pot for a long time helping to develop it and implement it (Of course through other companies).
Sadly everyone wants to blame those who make spyware according to market demands rather than those who created the idea in the first place.
This counts as your daily alloted MS bashing part of a healthy and nutritious internet diet.
I think they are on the right track
To say companies simply handed off advertising to advertising companies so, therefore they are blameless doesn’t wash. Attaching some penalties to that behavior likely would result in those companies making double dog sure they know exactly how their dollars are being spent. This should tighten things up at the ad companies, as no one will hire an outfit that gets you into legal problems.
Partner and affiliate programs are designed to provide deniability, even the “legit” ones.
If a product is spyware then why are people using it. Shouldn’t the fact that a program is malicious make it less used by users. Surely the reputation of the company would be shot and nobody would trust them again.
Legit advertisers? How can a legit advertiser be associated with spyware? To many excuses. Not enough accountability and responsibility for illegal actions. Too many lawyers that love the controversy ……. they can suck off all the legal actions to fill their bank accounts. Tough legislation and enforcement is needed.
you've missed the point joe.
If you are a company and your ad is found on spyware, you get a fine.
You are not going to stop advertising because of this fine. you’re going to use a more reputed company, who wont sublet your advertising on spyware.
if this was implemented, then there would be no more reason to make spyware.
If a few legitamate companies go bust over this, is it really that bad. If they dont shape up then ship them out.
at least someone seems to get the point…
I was agreeing with everything, but as I typed it up, I realized that it wasn’t as simple as it first seemed. First, the companies aren’t the ones breaking the law here. They aren’t writing the code for the spyware. They’re just being lazy by saying “here’s my money, go advertise me”. Nothing illegal in being lazy… as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone… oh, wait… yeah.
But then, we also have the issue of responsibility for an agent’s action. If I act on your behalf, you usually have responsibility for such actions. Now, there are many many legal convolutions to this, but that’s the short of it.
So what we really have is this: Companies should adhere to the moral obligation to not harm their customers. This brings us back to the point of them checking out where their advertising money is going. Should it be legally enforced with fines? I think, since they can’t seem police themselves, yes.
I couldn’t agree more with this statement. We have become a society so afraid to step on anyone’s toes that we are stomping on the collective feet of the masses. Maybe some “tough love” is what’s needed. This is a prime example of that. Also, its a prime example of us litigating responsibility away.
So, a message to these companies: You’re spending the money, XYZ Company, be responsible for what you’re spending it on. We’d like to let you handle this on your own without us having to slap you on the hand every time, but you don’t seem capable of doing that. But, I won’t lie… this will hurt you more than it’ll hurt us.
Re: Thank you...
Exactly – companies hiding behind 3rd party advertisers and then saying “it wasn’t me guv”, is like me hiring a hitman then expecting not to be prosecuted
In all honesty this is the ONLY way I can see this type of thing working, if you only go after the spyware companies themselves they will move overseas (those that aren’t already there). Then you end up in the situation where the company next door to you is benefiting form spyware on your machine with impunity, and the company doing it for them is comfy in another country where it is not illegal
As for damaging legitimate companies… If they choose to lay down with snakes…
Besides if the company really is legitimate they can always sue the spyware company for damages and possibly defamation (I think that’s the term for this one?)
Maybe with all the lawsuits going on today we can get toghther and make a few buck from all the info that has been taken from us. I didn’t request for anyone to take that from me. I’m sure there is something we can do.
What you are saying is that the companies have no idea, or no control over where their dollar gets spent.
The absurdity of this really comes to light when you apply it to print or outdoor advertising.
If the company is spending the money, it obviously has control over where it is spent. If it doesnt it is donating free money and I would like to line up in front of that company for some cash.
– Advertisers CAN control where their ads appear and the methods by which they are delivered.
– Advertisers CAN hold their vendors financially responsible (indemnification) for their actions as agent for the advertiser.
Simple truth is, so far the advertisers haven’t been held accountable. That made it easy ( and certainly cheaper) to just look the other way and play dumb if they got caught.
Bang a few well known brands/companies with a fat fines AND publicize their actions. Watch the spyware/malware companies evaporate.