Washington’s attorney general has settled the first case prosecuted under the state’s 2005 Computer Spyware Act.
The settlement announced today is with antispyware vendor Secure Computer. The White Plains, New York, software company was accused of marketing its product via deceptive spam and pop-up ads, which offered free spyware scans that always detected a problem with the computer that was scanned.
The company and its president, Paul Burke, will pay $725,000 in legal fees and $200,000 in penalties, and will reimburse Washington state customers $75,000, said Paula Selis, senior council with the attorney general’s office. “Given the scope of the defendants’ practices and the amount of consumer harm out there, we feel this is a very fair settlement.”
More than 1100 state residents purchased the company’s Spyware Cleaner software since it went on the market in 2004, Selis said. Those customers will now be e-mailed by Secure Computer and offered a refund for the $50 product, under terms of the settlement.