Sears Settles Over Spyware On Consumer Computers

We all have to be careful what we install on our computers, even if it's from a reputable company. Sears has agreed to settle FTC charges concerning spyware on consumer computers.

The concern is over a research project Sears conducted in 2007 and 2008 called "My SHC Community." Select visitors to the and sites were offered $10 to install a program that supposedly monitored online browsing. But, as reported by the FTC:

The FTC charges that the software would also monitor consumers’ online secure sessions – including sessions on third parties’ Web sites – and collect information transmitted in those sessions, such as the contents of shopping carts, online bank statements, drug prescription records, video rental records, library borrowing histories, and the sender, recipient, subject, and size for web-based e-mails. The software would also track some computer activities that were not related to the Internet. The proposed settlement calls for Sears to stop collecting data from the consumers who downloaded the software and to destroy all data it had previously collected.
Personally I think burying the real intent of software like this at the bottom of some license agreement is a nasty trick, and the FTC seems to agree. The settlement is subject to public comment through July 6, 2009, so if you'd like to speak your piece you can download this PDF from the FTC.

Posted byTriona Guidry at 11:30 AM  


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