back to article FTC fines three men $330,000 for pushing spyware

Three men accused of forcing spyware onto more than 15 million computers have agreed to pay $330,000 in fines and to to be monitored by federal authorities for up to eight years. The penalty settles charges by the Federal Trade Commission that Elliott S. Cameron, Robert A. Davidson II and Garry E. Hill violated federal consumer …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Suitable punishment

    Why not just take them behind the woodshed and shoot 'em? T'woud be more appropriate I suspect.

  2. Alan Donaly

    tax and accounting

    What this amounts to is a tax on spyware not a penalty as they get to keep most of the money and requiring accounting for it and of course a sop to the whining customers. This is exceptionally bad precedent and will cause no end of problems in the future.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Shooting would be too quick. It would be more appropriate to stake them out on a fire-ant hill.

  4. n8 and several others that should take note.

    I can name 3 more companies that follow this exact model. Now I can name a 4th because this seems like a great deal. (I am getting into this biz!) I can afford a lot of lawyers for 3.2 million. Come download my screensaver of porn, and let me track all of your internet usage! Oh and enjoy my popups almost as much as my crappy screensaver!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They installed their spyware without asking; force them to visit every one of the 15 million machines and remove their crap. That'll learn em.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any computer they use...

    Any computer they personally use should render an extremely annoying popup every 30 seconds, stealing focus from whatever they're doing. And it should be slowed to approximately the speed of a P1-166MHz. Perhaps their TV should display popups as well--of whatever bothers them the most. The justiceware can be removed after 8 years or 15 million popups. Sounds fair.

  7. David Wilkinson

    Not much of a deterent.

    I read about this over and over and over again, a company does something illegal, makes millions because of it, owes maybe 10% in fines.

    So you break the law, rip people off, damage countless computers and IF you get busted you only get to keep most of the money you make.

    Is this the way things work in every country or just the USA?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Is this the way things work in every country"

    In theory, in the UK under the Proceeds of Crime Act the whole proceeds can be seized in addition to the fine.

    In practice, we've just had a high profile case where a TV company was fined a measly £250K for a premium rate phone scam that is estimated to have cost callers £2M.

    The claim was that they could only impose the statututory 250K maximum fine, but they conveniently "forgot" to use the Proceeds of Crime Act which enables them to claim the rest.

    So, it does seem that regulators the world over are equally as thick as each other.

  9. Cameron Colley

    Ah, so if profit is involved it's ok?

    Someone breaks into a computer system out of curiosity, to see if they can, and they get jail time -- someone deliberately inconveniences 15 million people and they're merely taxed on the income.

    Seems if you want to get into crime -- make sure the profits are in the millions and the law won't apply to you.

  10. kevin


    So by this logic I should be able to rob a bank and only have to give back a portion of what I stole if I get caught? Who is writing these crappy laws???

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next in line is Sony & the infamous Rootkit

    So, How much do you reckon Sony'll have to pay up??

  12. Mike Siesel


    Okay, the government got its money, but in criminal cases a judge may order restitution to the parties affected--unfortunately a rare instance in US courts.

    Restitution would make a civil judgment against these guys easier to collect as it would be part of their plea agreement, and restitution can be held open though the case is essentially done.

    But that would be justice--something our courts at all levels seem to dismiss.

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