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Microsoft has been censured by a South African advertising watchdog for claiming that its "secure software" will make hackers extinct. The advertisement, that ran in the trade press and Time last November, juxtaposed three extinct animals with an image of a "hacker".

The copy reads:-

"Microsoft software is carefully designed to keep your company's valuable information in, and unauthorised people and viruses out."

No, really.

"Which means that your data couldn't really be safer, even if you kept it in a safe. Which is great news for the survival of your company. But tragic news for hackers."

The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) ruled that this breached the advertisers' code of practice because the supporting material could not be independently corroborated. The agency ruled that the advertisement, which was scheduled to run more widely this Spring, must be withdrawn.

You can see the questionable advertisement here.

The British Advertising Standards Authority also operates a voluntary code of practice, and has taken tech companies to task on many occasions for misleading advertisements.

For example, early this year an HP reseller was censured after complaints from Sun Microsystems over several unsubstantiated claims in an ad.

In November, Vodaphone got the rap for encouraging SMS foreplay while driving.

Nannyish, perhaps. But two years ago, the ASA ruled that PC and TV advertisements must describe the visible viewing area of a CRT display, rather than the size of the CRT tube itself.®

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