uk: Porn bill firm Micro Bill Systems opens new front

MBS’s disruptive popup billing software continues to cause angst, says Michael Pollitt. But is the Leeds-based company finally taking on board some of the concerns?Can you ever consent to blackmail? Rik Ferguson of internet security solutions company Trend Micro thinks so. He’s thinking of the behaviour of online billing software from Leeds-based Micro Bill Systems Ltd. Install it to view a three-day free trial of pornographic videos and, if you don’t cancel in time, you’ll see a popup bill window appear for increasingly longer periods each day until you pay £39.99. “It’s saying, ‘I am going to disable your system unless you pay the money, do you agree to this?’ That’s really consented blackmail,” says Ferguson, who hates the idea of X-rated websites shaming users into paying up.Micro Bill Systems (MBS) continues to hold this newspaper’s interest. Last year (My PC is being held to ransom, March 1), we were alerted about MBS by Ted Kenyon. Two months later (Legal wrangles over porn billing software, May 31), we reported on further developments. And we’ve regularly heard about your problems since. Described in the company’s 4,000-word terms and conditions, popup billing demanding money often catches people unawares. Now, security experts at Trend and McAfee Avert Labs have decided to speak out, despite the risk of legal retaliation from the company.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/jan/24/security.hitechcrime

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