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Adware firm sues over adware classification

Zango fights spyware software again

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Adware company Zango is taking another crack at suing a desktop-security software firm for deeming its software undesirable.

Zango filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court in Seattle Tuesday, against PC Tools and its free Spyware Doctor program bundled with Google Pack.

The filing claims that Spyware Doctor illegally removes Zango software from users' PCs without their expressed permission. Zango (formerly 180solutions) adware is classified in the program as an "elevated" threat.

Zango is asking for $35m in damages for the "irreparable harm" caused by the classification of its software which has been "consensually installed by millions of users". The company attempted a similar action against Zone Labs in 2005 for the firm's personal firewall software labeling the advertising client as spyware.

In 2006, US Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement with Zango over complaints over sneaky adware installs by its affiliates. Zango agreed to pay $3m and agreed to make sure its software is only installed with user consent.

A week after the settlement, security researchers discovered pages on MySpace containing YouTube videos bundled with a Zango Cash adware installer - an application that loads pop-up advertising software in PCs. Surfers were lured into a site called "Yootube.info," and asked to accept an end-user licensing agreement to watch the video. If the user accepted the video, Zango Cash would install on the computer.

Zango claims that it has cleaned up its act since then. ®

Bootnote

At the blog of rival anti-spyware firm Sunbelt Software, Alex Eckelberry points out that Spyware Doctor does, in fact, appear to give a warning before deleting Zango software.

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