RemoteSpy Press Release

December 4th, 2008 by Tracer Spence

In case you’re curious, here is the link to the press release we are issuing later today about the Court’s ruling in our favor.  Obviously, you get the most complete picture by reading the whole thing, but the gist of it is captured in a few choice snippets:

If you learn nothing else, know this:

“On November 25, 2008, the U.S. District Court denied a proposed ban of the remotely-deployed computer monitoring software product, RemoteSpy, sold by CyberSpy Software, LLC.  As of December 3, 2008, RemoteSpy is once again available for sale and users of the popular software can once again access their accounts.”

I give special thanks to the customers who spoke up for us:

Spence added: “After considering the sworn testimony of numerous parents and employers who depend on our software to monitor the activities of their children and employees, the Court rightly denied the FTC’s attempt to shut us down.”

Our General Counsel, Clegg Ivey, makes an interesting analogy:

“Yet, they tried to shut us down because some unspecified person out there might violate our license agreement, ignore the warnings contained on our website and in the user guide, and misuse the software to break the law,” Ivey continued.  “That’s exactly what the Recording Industry said when they asked a court to ban MP3 players as being useful only for music piracy,” Ivey said, “but I represented Diamond Multimedia in that case and the Court agreed with us.” Ivey added: “The Recording Industry was wrong then just like the FTC is wrong now.”

I’ll post more soon about our amazing customers and the various ways in which they stepped up to set the record straight.  I am also hoping that Clegg will devote a future post to talking more about the similarities between MP3 players and computer monitoring software.

Harvard Law Misses the Mark

December 3rd, 2008 by Clegg Ivey

I just noticed a brief discussion of our case over at JOLT Digest, the online blog that accompanies the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology.  Andrew Ungberg posted his article to the blog very early on November 25, 2008.  That would be the same day the Court issued its ruling denying the FTC’s request to extend the temporary restraining order (TRO) and the day after we appeared in court for the hearing on the preliminary injunction (PI).

He seems confused about when the hearing was held and, much more importantly, what the judge decided:

Following a hearing on November 17, Judge Gregory Presnell of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida upheld his November 6th decision to grant the Federal Trade Commission’s request for a temporary restraining order prohibiting the sale of CyberSpy Software’s RemoteSpy keylogger software.

Well, no, actually.  The hearing was on the 24th, not the 17th.  And Judge Presnell did not uphold his decision granting the FTC’s request for a TRO prohibiting the sale of RemoteSpy.  On the contrary, he vacated the ban on selling RemoteSpy in his ruling the day after the hearing, which is why we are now selling the product again.

I think Mr. Ungberg is a first or second year law student, so we’ll cut him some slack.  But I would like to see him post a correction.  Even better, he can make it part of a follow-up, in which he discusses the merits of the case in light of the Court’s latest ruling.  What say you, Mr. Ungberg?

Ban the Automobile, Too?

December 1st, 2008 by Clegg Ivey

Matthew Humphries writes this article on applauding the FTC’s attempt to ban RemoteSpy.  Most interestingly, Mr. Humphries says the following:

When you read about what RemoteSpy actually does then it is clear to see that it was made to act as spyware and must break a number of laws. What’s surprising to me is the fact it has been sold since August 2005.

I would challenge Mr. Humphries to find even a single law that our software breaks.  He seems unaware of the important distinction between surveillance tools and the purposes for which people use them.  I could go on at length about the numerous legitimate and beneficial uses of RemoteSpy — indeed, we have received hundreds of testimonials from parents and employers on the subject.  It’s possible Mr. Humphries has neither children nor remote employees, both of whom are often more tech savvy and have better access to the computer than the parents or employers who have a legitimate need to monitor their computer usage.

It’s also possible that Mr. Humphries repeats the mistake of the FTC: focusing on the potential abuses of a new technology, rather than its intended legitimate uses.  What would happen if we banned every technology that could be abused?  No cars.  No guns.  No MP3 players.  At the end of the day, the people abusing these technologies to break the law are the ones we should be focusing on.  Otherwise, we unduly hamper innovation and technological progress because we are paralyzed by fear of how someone somewhere might abuse these new technologies.

Keyloggers Don’t Hurt People, People Do

November 28th, 2008 by Tracer Spence

So, I just saw this article posted last week by Benjamin Googins over at Computer Associates’ Security Advisor Blog.  He posted the article before the Court lifted the ban on RemoteSpy, but he seemed to understand what was happening:

“[T]his restraining order is only temporary and limited to one particular piece of software — the RemoteSpy keylogger.  I would guess CyberSpy is working with their lawyers to launch an appeal.”

You bet we did.  And the ban was lifted.

It’s funny, but Mr. Googins made an argument very similar to the one we made at our hearing:

“Even if this restraining order sticks and is made permanent, there is a plethora of other keyloggers available on the market, many for free.”

Exactly.  If the FTC really wanted to make some changes in the market, why not work with the whole industry or open the subject up for debate?  Why go after only one maker of remote computer monitoring software?

Finally, Mr. Googins makes a great point:

“The line between good and bad software is a messy one and strict criteria need to be published and publicly available.  Most of all, these criteria need to be evenly applied.  … I believe that if the FTC evenly applies the criteria they state as reasons for restraining the sale of RemoteSpy, hundreds, possibly thousands of other readily available keyloggers will need to be targeted and restrained from sale and distribution.”

And it seems like that’s the problem in a nutshell.  The approach taken by the FTC would render all remote computer monitoring software illegal because they don’t really distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate uses of the software.  But so many of our customers have come forward to explain how pivotal our software is to their families and businesses.  Maybe the FTC will heed their voices?

RemoteSpy Success!

November 25th, 2008 by Tracer Spence

Well, we did it!  The FTC tried to shut us down and, against all odds, we beat the government regulators.  I just want to send a note of thanks to the hundreds of customers who wrote in with their testimonials about how important RemoteSpy has been to their lives.

We had one mother write in to tell us that RemoteSpy literally saved her son’s life, because the program enabled her to learn that her son had overdosed on drugs and she was able to get him to the hospital just before his heart stopped.  A business owner wrote in to tell us about the employee she caught stealing confidential information from the company and working directly with competitors to undermine their business.

Actually, we had literally hundreds of parents, employers and concerned family members write in with similar stories.  Doctors, lawyers, and plenty of active duty military folks all chimed in to tell us how grateful they were to have a product like RemoteSpy.

We’ve worked hard for years to build a product that people can count on to protect them and their loved ones or businesses.  What the FTC tried to do — and, trust me, I’ll have more to say about that in later posts — jeopardized all of that hard work.  I’m just glad that the Court was able to see both sides of the story and, more importantly, to allow our customers to continue using this great computer monitoring product for its intended, legitimate uses.