Ben Edelman drops a bomb

In a post this morning, Harvard researcher Ben Edelman alleges that Zango has violated its settlement with the FTC earlier this year, carefully dissecting Zango’s installation and distribution practices.

It’s worth reviewing the FTC Settlement:

The settlement bars Zango from using its adware to communicate with consumers’ computers – either by monitoring consumers’ Web surfing activities or delivering pop-up ads – without verifying that consumers consented to installation of the adware. It bars Zango, directly or through others, from exploiting security vulnerabilities to download software, and requires that it give clear and prominent disclosures and obtain consumers’ express consent before downloading software onto consumers’ computers. It requires that Zango identify its ads and establish, implement, and maintain user-friendly mechanisms consumers can use to complain, stop its pop-ups, and uninstall its adware. It also requires that Zango monitor its third-party distributors to assure that its affiliates and their sub-affiliates comply with the FTC order. Finally, Zango will give up $3 million in ill-gotten gains to settle the charges. The settlement contains standard record keeping provisions to allow the FTC to monitor compliance.

This is of some importance, especially in light of the fact that Zango is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with PC Tools over its method of listing Zango in its product.