Despite allegations that the company is not complying with the terms of a $3m settlement with the FTC, adware vendor Zango said that they will not be making any drastic changes to their software.
"Nothing there was really a surprise," chief executive Keith Smith told vnunet.com in an interview.
"We said when the announcement was made that we were already in compliance, and we stand by that statement. So there are some minor tweaks being made."
In October of 2005, the company decided to no longer allow companies to sub-contract Zango distribution to 3rd parties. Only Zango's partners are now allowed to distribute the software, and in December of last year the company announced that all copies of Zango released before 1 January 2006 would no longer be supported or receive ads.
"We've spent the last two years focused on compliance and changing our distribution model," said Smith, who contends that Zango has come a long way from the days when the software was installed through exploits and spyware bundles.
"A year ago, we were having discussions with privacy advocates about affiliates who were installing software without notice or consent. Now the arguments are 'I don't like the font' or 'I don't like the way you put these words together' so you've got to put it in that context."
Critics however claim that deceitful tactics are still being used to install Zango software. In a recently released study, security researchers Ben Edelman and Eric Howes alleged that Zango failed to properly disclose how the software operates, that the disclosure of Zango installations are buried deep within End-User License Agreements (EULA) and that in some cases the software is installed with no warning whatsoever.
"They’ve simplified, but even so, they still have third parties that are adopting sleazy practices," Edelman told vnunet.com.
Edelman's study documents eight installations of Zango which he says violate the terms of the $3m settlement. The study was conducted after the draft FTC agreement, and Edelman said that the examples were all collected in recent months, long after Zango enacted its new policies.
In one example, a distributor buried the Zango license agreement 44 pages deep in an application's EULA. In another case, no disclosure about Zango is given at all.
The problem, said Edelman, starts with Zango.
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