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Internet Advertising Firm Agrees to Follow New Standards

A firm named Zango Inc. that advertises on the Internet has made a settlement with federal authorities with regard to charges that a pop-up software was installed on personal computers without due intimation to users. The firm will pay $3 million to the U.S government to settle the matter. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the agreement stipulates that consumers must be told how to remove such intrusive adware. The firm must seek their consent before the installation of these devices.

It is believed that Zango's distributors often offered free content and applications such as screensavers, P2P software and utilities without mentioning that downloading them entails installation of the software. The distributors have also taken advantage of security failings in Web browsers to install the adware. The consequence was that millions of users found unwanted pop-ups while their Internet use was scrutinized without their consent.

The most important outcome of the settlement is that Zango will now be barred from showing ads through its adware on computers on which installation was made before Jan 1, 2006. The company says that FTC began its probe in Sept. 2005. The Center for Democracy and Technology approached the FTC and lodged a complaint about the firm in January 2006.

In a news release, Zango appreciated the FTC's initiatives to develop new standards for the business of software downloading. The firm's lawyer says that these results have made online consumers more secure. Standards are now available for software downloading and Internet applications, and these should be followed.

On the firm's website, Keith Smith, chief executive of Zango, expresses profound regret and apologizes for the negative impact of the affair. Zango claims it has installed software and systems to keep a close watch on its adware and avoid its installation on computers without consumer' consent.

Persons speaking on behalf of the company have said that the FTC's new standards lay down a guiding example for all companies engaged in offers of content for downloading, ranging from instant-messaging applications to toolbars to amusements.

Related article: Internet Threat Volumes Overwhelm Security Companies

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