ISPs Accused Of Hijacking Search Terms, Redirecting Browser Results To Marketer's Websites
from the yikes dept
From the article, it's not clear if the companies such as those listed above are actually responsible. Instead, it looks like it may be part of an affiliate program, whereby a company signs up as an affiliate to such stores, then uses this kind of deal with an ISP to generate massive affiliate fees, some of which get kicked back to the ISP.
The report notes that Google became aware of this earlier this year and complained privately about it (why not publicly?). That resulted in the ISPs no longer intercepting Google traffic (which is the majority of search traffic), but it's still pretty questionable. Either way, the excellent New Scientist report (linked above) also notes that a class action lawsuit has already been filed here, claiming that this violates the Wiretap Act.
What's most amazing to me, however, is that anyone involved in schemes like this don't think that it will eventually come out, and that they'll (a) look terrible and (b) get sued.