Thursday, February 02, 2006

180 Solutions Sued Over Adware Tactics

In a 91-page federal complaint fairly quivering with frustration, the Center for Democracy and Technology last week took on 180solutions, accusing the adware company of acting in a "brazenly reckless" manner in getting its software on desktops.

The consumer advocates at CDT allege that 180solutions consistently ignores the fact that partner after partner uses 180solutions' adware to install pop-up ads on the computers of users who haven't given their informed consent.

While the complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission last week concedes that 180solutions has responded to some concerns, the main problem appears to be that it does so only when it is pressured.

New problems continue to arise because the fundamental business model doesn't discourage bad installations -- at least according to the CDT and consultants like Eric Howes, who runs the anti-spyware Web site

The CDT's move also raises questions about the future of adware. Some observers, like Howes and adware consultant Ben Edelman, maintain that few consumers want adware on their computers.

Therefore, they say, companies like 180solutions are forced into a business model that at least tacitly rewards trickery.

"The only way they can get it on computers, so they can make money, is to sneak it on," Howes said.

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