New Law Cracks Down On Spyware

by Michael Finney, KGO-TV San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – A new law in California that took effect January 1 limits the ability of rent-to-own companies to install spyware that could monitor a customer’s every move. That spyware can be installed on a renter’s computers without their knowledge or consent.

Spyware is capable of not only tracking your every key stroke, but can also take control of your camera. Over the last few years, regulators have been cracking down and now California is finally joining the anti-spyware crusade.

Aaron’s is the latest of at least eight rent-to-own companies which have settled complaints in the last few years over the installation of spyware.

The national chain which has a location in Sunnyvale agreed to a Federal Trade Commission order prohibiting it from using its rental computers to spy on consumers.

“It’s outrageous, you know when you are renting a computer you’re not giving permission to the rental company to capture all the information including your emails, and even pictures of you,” said Richard Holober, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of California.

The Consumer Federation of California successfully sponsored state legislation banning the practice without first notifying the consumer. This comes on top of a settlement announced in October between Aaron’s and the California Attorney General’s Office.

The KGO website has the full transcript.


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