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Computer Spyware Act

Seattle, WA: (May-19-08) The Washington Attorney General's Office brought charges against Messenger Solutions, LLC, and owner Ron Cooke, a 21-year-old Scottsdale, AZ, man, alleging that he violated Washington's Computer Spyware Act and Consumer Protection Act while marketing programs under the names Messenger Blocker, WinAntiVirus Pro 2007, System Doctor and WinAntiSpyware. The suit, brought by the Attorney General's Consumer Protection High-Tech Unit stated that Cooke forced consumers to buy software that actually turned their computers into spamming machines. The complaint accused Cooke of using Windows Messenger Service to bombard consumers with a continuous stream of pop-ups advertising porn and sexual-enhancement products.

The King County Superior Court lawsuit reached a settlement, in which Cooke agreed to not use Net Send messages or simulated security alerts to market products, transmit software to another person's computer without a user's knowledge or make other misrepresentations in the advertising or sale of products. Additionally, Cooke will pay $5,000 in attorneys' costs and fees and $202 in restitution, which will be used to provide refunds to nine Washington consumers who purchased the software. The settlement agreement also includes a $100,000 civil penalty, which may be waived if all the stipulations are complied with. [CONSUMER AFFAIRS: POP-UP SCAMMER FACES $100,000 FINE]


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Published on May-22-08


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