FTC sues company over spyware

Federal Trade Commission says company disguised spyware and adware as peer-to-peer file sharing software.

Declan McCullagh Former Senior Writer
Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.
Declan McCullagh

The Federal Trade Commission announced on Wednesday that it has sued a company it says secretly installed spyware and adware purporting to be peer-to-peer file sharing software. The company offered claims such as "Download music without fear," and "Don't let the record companies win," but in reality did things like rewriting search engine results and generating pop-up ads, the agency said.

Wednesday's announcement seems to be an effort to stave off possible enforcement-related criticism from Congress, which is holding a hearing on the topic later in the day. The defendant in the case is Odysseus Marketing of New Hampshire, whose ClientMan program is listed in Computer Associates' spyware encyclopedia.