New York state Attorney General Eliot Sptizer has spyware in his sights and is suing an internet marketer for deceptive advertising, computer tampering and trespass.

The lawsuit alleges that Direct Revenue installed malicious spyware on PCs without users' consent after luring them with the offer of enhancement to existing software. The spyware then tracked their web usage and bombarded them with pop-up ads.

Direct Revenue says it will vigorously defend the charges and argues: "Mislabelling our products as 'spyware' does a disservice not only to our company, but also to the public by creating an atmosphere of hysteria, confusion and inaccuracy."

The company's lawyer Andrew Celli says it no longer engages in the practices detailed in Spitzer's complaint but they were legal at the time and consistent with other leaders in the adware business.

Last April, Spitzer accused another company of installing spyware on computers and delivering pop-up ads. Intermix Media eventually settled the case for $7.5 million (€6.1m; £4.2m).

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff