U.S. Court Grants Preliminary Injunction Against Spyware Product
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 9:59 AM

In a recent press release, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it had filed a complaint on 8 November 2008 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida against CyberSpy Software, LLC, and Tracer R. Spence, the company’s manager and agent, for selling “keylogger” spyware. The suit follows a complaint the FTC received about the spyware product from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a non-governmental organization.

CyberSpy’s product, “RemoteSpy,” allows a purchaser to deceive a victim into installing the spyware program onto the victim’s computer by clicking on a disguised file, which then monitors the victim’s computer for every keystroke the victim typed, and every website the victim visited. The spyware program then sends this information to a website maintained by CyberSpy, which the purchaser accesses to spy on the victim.

In its complaint, the FTC alleged that CyberSpy and Spence violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act by engaging in “unfair and deceptive practices” when selling RemoteSpy. Specifically, the FTC alleges the defendants unfairly advertised and sold this software; unfairly collected, stored and disclosed information; and gave purchasers the “means and instrumentalities to unfairly deploy and install” this software and “to deceive consumer victims into downloading” the software. The FTC petitioned the court for a temporary restraining order to freeze RemoteSpy sales, which the court granted.

In a later press release, the FTC announced that the court had ordered a preliminary injunction against CyberSpy and Spence on 25 November 2008. Among other requirements, the injunction orders the defendants to stop “promoting, selling or distributing” RemoteSpy, including “informing or suggesting” the product’s spying potential to existing customers.

For the full text of these press releases, please click one of the following: 17 November, 28 November.

Related links:

FTC v. CyberSpy Software, LLC, and Tracer R. Spence case materials

Federal Trade Commission Act (by sections)

See especially FTC Act Section 5

FTC Spyware information site

Battered Women’s Justice Project

Compiled from: Federal Trade Commission, Court Orders Halt to Sale of Spyware (17 November 2008) and Court Issues Preliminary Injunction Against "RemoteSpy" Defendants (28 November 2008).