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GREENBELT, Maryland (AP) -- A San Diego company has agreed to stop bombarding computer users with Internet pop-up ads to advertise its ad-blocking software, avoiding a court battle with the Federal Trade Commission.
...D Squared will no longer send pop up ads using the Windows Messenger Service or sell software that blocks such ads.
...D Squared will have to let the FTC monitor its business for the next five years and report regularly on its activities.
....Attorneys for Dhingra and Davis claimed the pair were not trying to extort consumers with their ads and only intended to send one a day to computer users. Lawyer Anthony J. Dain has said the ads are "annoyances you have to deal with in a free society." D Squared won a small victory in December when U.S. District Judge Andre Davis ruled it could continue sending ads until the case was resolved.
I think this became a problem mainly with NT and XP Windows systems, but it seems to me that something that was almost a deliberately built in exploit in Windows shouldn't serve as a basis for this type of case by the FTC. Annoying probably is an understatement for such ads and no doubt a number of people were distressed by them, but I'm left with the feeling that Microsoft now has the government acting like their own personal pit bulldog, busting over zealous entrepreneurs taking advantage of an exploit of Microsoft's own doing.
Is this overreaction by the FTC? Should Microsoft have been found complicit in this to some extent? Nowadays when someone leaves their keys in a car, and that facilitates it being stolen, especially by a minor, they are considered a contributing cause to the theft, and a contributor to the deliquency of a minor for having done so. Forget the old rule of people being required to resist a temptation, remember today's rules of being complicit to a degree for having left a temptation, and it seems Microsoft shares some guilt here.
This was not theft. No one was stealing information off one's computer. It wasn't spyware. It was just an annoyance, and one that could be dealt with, and one that Microsoft should never have turned on by default.