The state of New York is suing online advertising software specialist Intermix, alleging the company of smuggling spyware into internet media campaigns.
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State attorney-general Eliot Spitzer accused the company of planting software on consumers’ computers without their knowledge, allowing the company to track their behaviour and deliver pop-up advertising.
Intermix included the software in free games, screen-savers and other downloads, the complaint alleges.
Anyone downloading the software would also receive spyware and would only be told about it in a “deep within lengthy, legalistic license agreements”, the suit says.
Intermix denies the allegations. It said is did not promote or condone spyware and was in discussions with the New York attorney general's office to find resolution. It had already stopped distributing the application in question, the company said.