The US Federal Trade Commission has struck its first blow against spyware manufacturers by shutting down the Seismic Entertainment Productions and smartbot.net.
Seismic are accused of producing and secretly installing a spyware application that nagged users to buy an anti-spyware product from the company. In effect, the application was creating a problem for the PC user and then require US$30 (€24) for removal. The complaint was brought forward by a Washington-based consumer group, the Centre for Democracy and Technology.
The individual behind Seismic is Sanford Wallace, who has been accused of illegal practices and pursued by anti-spam authorities for the past few years. He is currently looking for sympathy on his personal website, and has published the following statement:
“We believe the U.S. government is attempting to enforce federal laws that have yet to be enacted. We feel this is a political move and it is being made at the expense of legal business operations. I am not surprised at all that my companies and I, Sanford Wallace, were picked as the ‘poster boy.’ I find the timing and target of this action to be extremely convenient and painfully obvious. We deny any wrongdoings and plan to pursue all legal protections, remedies and freedoms.”
Given the number of people he’s upset in the past, he’ll have a tough job, but there is currently no anti-spyware legislation in the US – the FTC moved against Wallace under legislation relating to deceptive business practices.