Accused search hijacker denies all charges except covertly redirecting search

Search-marketer interecepts queries, fixes, them, adds advertisers, returns to sender

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"You recently wrote or published an article about our company, Paxfire, Inc., referencing a lawsuit that makes allegations about Paxfire. Please find below a statement from our company about the lawsuit’s major allegations."

They didn't even merge my name onto the text.

Most of it was pointed at, if not addressed to, New Scientist, which broke the story Aug. 4, then followed it up today.

More than 10 ISPs in the US, which together have several million subscribers, are redirecting queries in this way (see below for a complete list). None of the companies would comment on the redirection scheme, but evidence collected by Christian Kreibich and Nicholas Weaver at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, California, who discovered the redirection and have been monitoring it for several months, suggest that the process generates revenue for the ISPs. – New Scientist, Aug. 10

Paxfire isn't the only company involved; Google figured out the scam a few months ago and has been warning people and/or trying to prevent it ever since.

While Paxfire took offense at the story, it didn't do a good job of refuting much of it.

It denied collecting, analyzing or reselling user information, but the ICSI report points out the Paxfire privacy policy said the company may keep copies of user "queries" without saying if that means to searches they use, domain names they look up or both, along with their IP addresses.

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