Firm Asks Court to Clear Windows 'Pop-Up' Ads

A federal judge will consider on Monday whether a San Diego company may continue to take advantage of an obscure feature in Windows software to send "pop-up" messages promoting its own software to block such ads, a lawyer said on Wednesday. A temporary restraining order -- requested in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Oct. 30 -- bars the privately held online marketer, D Squared Solutions LLC, from sending the pop-up ads. The FTC lawsuit accuses D Squared of unfair or deceptive practices in what officials have likened to a high-tech "extortion" scheme. However, a lawyer for D Squared argued that the pop-up ads do not harm consumers and instead help protect them against real harm that could be caused by malicious hackers or viruses.

The pop-up ads are "no more harmful than roadway speed-bumps or television commercials," the defense lawyers wrote in their request two weeks ago to have the U.S. District Court in Baltimore lift the restraining order. "You may not like (the ads); it may be painful, but in the long run it will do you good," Anthony Dain, a lawyer representing D Squared, said in a phone interview. Dain said the restraining order should be lifted on the grounds that there is no law that prevents D Squared from sending the ads. "The FTC is trying to stretch the law as far as they can to cover this," he said. FTC officials declined to comment on the matter. D Squared, run by two undergraduate students at the University of California at San Diego -- Anish Dhingra and Jeffrey Davis, sells software for $25 to $29 that shuts off the Windows feature that allows the ads to get through.

News source: Reuters

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