Judge OKs Internet Company's Pop-Up Ads

A federal judge ruled Monday that a California company can send "pop-up" Internet ads that regulators have called "high-tech extortion"—at least until the matter is decided at trial. U.S. District Judge Andre Davis said there was insufficient evidence for him to grant a preliminary injunction sought by the Federal Trade Commission. Regulators wanted to stop San Diego-based D-Squared Solutions LLC from selling its ad-blocking software. "It's not clear to me ... if there's substantial injury to consumers," said Davis, who set a trial for March 8. "The case had the odor of extortion as it was originally prosecuted ... but it certainly doesn't look like extortion to me."

The FTC said D-Squared improperly used a technology built into most versions of Microsoft's Windows operating software to display intrusive messages on computer screens. The messages offered software to block the same types of ads the company was sending. The FTC said D-Squared unlawfully exploited Microsoft's Windows Messenger Service feature by sending the unwanted ads to Internet users as frequently as once every 10 minutes. FTC attorney Mona Spivack said D-Squared's advertisements caused "substantial injury" to consumers, citing lost data, crashed computers, frustration, annoyance and harassment.

News source: eWeek

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