Washington State Puts Its Foot Down on Pop-Ups

Ah, comeuppance. Washington State’s attorney general filed suit against an Arizona couplespam.jpg this week for bombarding users with pop-up ads and then aggressively hawking phony security software to fix the problem. Spamming users with ads for everything from porn to viagra, Ron and Jane Doe (seriously) Cooke of Scottsdale, Arizona only stopped when users signed up for a trial with one of several pop-up blocking programs: Messenger Blocker, WinAntivirus Pro, WinAntiSpyware, and System Defender. Once the trial ended and users declined to pay the $20 fee, the obnoxious pop-ups promptly returned. Those who did fork over the fee for permanent usage unwittingly sent pop-up spam to other network computers. Anyone who tried to remove the software from the computer had a hell of a time doing so: these programs disable user access to Windows Task Manager. According to the state’s Attorney General, the Cookes violated Washington’s Computer Spyware and Consumer Protection Acts. The lawsuit seeks to ban the couple from sending pop-ups and selling fraudulent software, and to charge them $2,000 per violation. Sounds like a plan. So, which state’s on board next?

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