N.Y. AG Sues NAI Over Free Speech
The New York state attorney general is suing security vendor Network Associates Inc. for violating free speech laws with a clause in its user agreement that prohibits users from criticizing the company's products.The New York state attorney general on Thursday sued security vendor Network Associates Inc. for violating free speech laws with a clause in its user agreement that prohibits users from criticizing the companys products. The suit charges that the clauses are illegal and harm the public by preventing discussion of problems and defects in the companys products. "It is unconscionable that a reputable software developer such as Network Associates would seek to chill and censor public speech and debate about its products," said Eliot Spitzer, attorney general of New York. "Whether the subject is political debate or debate over which software to buy, we must protect free and open speech from intimidation in order to preserve the publics right to information."
Spitzer is seeking to prevent enforcement of the "restrictive covenants" that he says prevent product reviews and open criticism of Network Associates software. He also contends that because the clause tells consumers that the restrictions are legal under existing "rules and regulations," the company has committed an unlawful deceptive practice.