Laws Of .com

Rent-to-Own Computers Secretly Captured User's most Intimate Moments

The settlement between the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”), seven rent-to-own companies and a software maker appears to put an end to the FTC’s complaint alleging that the defendants’ laptops secretly captured screenshots of confidential and personal information including tracking every keystroke and, in some cases, logging into the user’s computer webcam and taking pictures of children and individuals not fully clothed and couples engaging in sexual activities.  

According to the FTC complaint, rent-to-own stores installed video spying software created by DesignerWare on up to 420,000 rental computers.  

The FTC charged that the gathering of personal information by DesignerWare, and disclosing that information to the rent-to-own stores was unfair, and violated the FTC Act.  The FTC further charged that providing the rent-to-own operators the means to break the law was unfair, and providing the fake registration forms to obtain consumer data was deceptive. 

Under the proposed settlement, the defendants agreed to curb data-collecting software on rental personal computers and also to stop using deception to gather any information from consumers.  The companies can still use tracking software on their rental computers, so long as they advise the renters. 

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