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FTC bans companies from selling scareware products

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Yahoo!Tech reports that “[a]t the request of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, a U.S. district court has ordered two companies marketing supposed computer security products online to stop their efforts.  The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland has ordered Innovative Marketing and ByteHosting Internet Services to stop promoting so-called "scareware" through online advertisements. The companies used online ads to scare consumers into buying products such as WinFixer, WinAntivirus, DriveCleaner, ErrorSafe and XP Antivirus, by falsely claiming that scans of consumers' computers had detected viruses, spyware and illegal pornography, the FTC said in a press release.  The court, in a temporary restraining order issued Dec. 2, also froze the assets of the people involved in the schemes in an attempt to recover money for the more than 1 million customers who purchased the scareware, the FTC said in its Wednesday announcement.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, “[a] Yahoo Inc. shareholder has urged the board to reach a deal with Microsoft Corp., saying selling the search business to Microsoft could result in a deal valued at double Yahoo's current stock price.  The proposal by Ivory Investment Management LP follows the recent resignation of Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang and signs that Microsoft remains willing to buy the Yahoo's search business. A spokesman for Yahoo declined to comment.”

The International Herald Tribune reveals that, “[i]n a scathing report released Tuesday, congressional investigators outlined a pattern of mismanagement, dysfunction and abuse of power at the Federal Communications Commission under the agency's Republican chairman, Kevin Martin.  The report – the result of a nearly yearlong, bipartisan investigation by the House Energy and Commerce Committee – accuses Martin of manipulating data and suppressing information to influence telecommunications policy debates at the agency and on Capitol Hill.  The report charges that the commission has become politicized and failed to carry out some important responsibilities under Martin's leadership. It also blames him for undermining an open and transparent regulatory process.”

The International Herald Tribune also has an interesting article on the Australian government’s planned web filter that would require Internet service providers to block access to thousands of sites containing illegal content.  As the article points out, “the plan has sparked opposition from online advocacy groups and industry experts who say it would slow browsing speeds and do little to block undesirable content.”

And CNetNews.com has a worthwhile article on how the business environment has changed for Web startups.