May 3, 2005, 12:00 AM

New York files a suit claiming to fight spyware

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has filed suit against Intermix Media Inc., a Los Angeles-based marketer, claiming the company downloaded adware and spyware on home computers without giving consumers proper notice.

 

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has filed suit against Intermix Media Inc., a Los Angeles-based marketer, claiming the company installed a wide range of advertising software and spyware on home computers without giving consumers proper notice.

Intermix denies the charges. The company owns and operates a wide range of web sites, including mycoolscreen.com, cursorzone.com and flowgo.com.

In the suit-filed April 28 in the Supreme Court of the State of New County of New York-Spitzer alleges that Intermix violates state laws prohibiting false advertising, deceptive marketing practices, and trespass. The attorney general is seeking an injunction to prevent Intermix from secretly installing spyware, an accounting of all revenues made on those products, and payment of penalties.

The Intermix sites in question advertise free software available for download, including screensavers, screen cursors and games. The lawsuit alleges that along with those programs, Intermix secretly downloaded a number of ad-delivery programs, including redirecting web addresses to Intermix’s proprietary search engine and placing advertising toolbars on users’ screens.

Intermix downloaded more than 3.7 million programs to New York residents alone, the suit charges.

In a written statement, Intermix said it does not promote or condone spyware, and hopes to reach an “appropriate and amicable resolution” with the attorney general. “Many of the practices being challenged were instituted under prior leadership,” the company said. “We voluntarily ceased distribution of the applications at issue” early in April.

 

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