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Three Companies Using Adware Penalized

Cingular Wireless, Priceline.com and Travelocity.com LP have come to terms with charges of secretly using 'adware' Internet programs as tools for marketing their products, said New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in a statement to The Associated Press in a publication of 'Wcax' on January 29, 2007. The companies consented to restrict posting pop-up advertisements and other 'adware' through the Internet that computer users have not said they wanted, said Offices of Andrew Cuomo.

The settlements are with advertisers who have for the first time displayed ads through adware, typically that deliver unsolicited pop-up advertisements and slow the speed of personal computers to even cause them to crash, Cuomo's Office said.

Advertising-supported software or adware automatically displays, plays or downloads advertising content and reduce the speed or crash personal computers. According to Cuomo, people of New York have felt the brunt of unwanted adware programs and this agreement is a right move towards clamping down such hateful practices.

The Attorney General's Office imposed charges on Direct Revenue LLC for installing adware programs that were difficult to remove from millions of computers across the world. The programs intended to provide ads for companies, track website activities and collect data entered into Web but without the consent of or adequate notice to consumers.

As per the suit, consumers who had earlier downloaded Direct Revenue's programs without being informed - known as legacy users - kept on receiving Cingular, Priceline and Travelocity ads through that software.

But now Cuomo's office gives to maintain that these three companies may deliver online ads only through companies that provide full disclosure to consumers. It further requires advertisers to label each ad with a brand name or icon, acquire consumers' permission to both install and run the adware, make it easily removable from the PC and also take permission for continued offers of ads to legacy users.

The Attorney General's Office has asked Cingular and Priceline to pay $35,000 as penalties and to compensate for investigating costs. Travelocity will have to pay $30,000. Spokesmen of both Cingular and Priceline said their companies appreciated the settlements' goal to protect consumers from adware.

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