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Judge rules against accused spyware distributor

FTC to seize $4595.36 in ill-gotten gains

By Grant Gross
March 11, 2008 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - A U.S. judge has granted a request by the Federal Trade Commission for a judgment against a company accused of distributing spyware and adware onto people's computers.

A judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada has ordered Timothy P. Taylor to give up $4,595.36, the money he made from a scheme that tricked consumers into downloading spyware by offering free screensavers and videos on his TeamTaylorMade.com Web site, the FTC said Monday.

Software on Taylor's site included spyware called Media Motor from ERG Ventures that changed consumers' home pages, tracked their Internet activity, altered browser settings, degraded computer performance and disabled antispyware and antivirus software, the FTC said.

ERG Ventures, based in Nevada, agreed to pay $330,000 as part of a settlement with the FTC last September. The default judgment against Taylor, who has lived in Tennessee, ends the November 2006 lawsuit the FTC filed against ERG Ventures, its owners and Taylor.

The FTC had accused ERG Ventures and Taylor of distributing spyware that infected 15 million computers. Many of the malware programs were "extremely difficult or impossible" for consumers to remove from their computers, the FTC said.

The judgment entered against Taylor bars him from distributing software that interferes with consumers' computers, including software that tracks consumers' Internet activity or collects other personal information; generates disruptive pop-up advertising; tampers with or disables other installed programs; or installs other advertising software onto consumers' computers.

The judgment also requires Taylor to disclose the name and function of all software he installs on consumers' computers in the future, and to provide consumers with the option to cancel the installation after viewing the disclosure.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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