Lenovo Tries the Old Sony Trick

By | 2015-02-20

image A few years back, Sony intentionally infected peoples computers with a type of virus called a Rootkit, that was part of their copy-protection technology philosophy for their music business.  They felt they could justify this quasi illegal behaviour, up until people found out about it.  Then they blamed a third party software company for doing this without their knowing, and claimed they would put and end to it.

image Flash forward to 2015, and Lenovo gets caught pulling a very similar trick, but they are installing a virus on your laptop at the factory.  This trick involves sharing information with a marketing company.  They apparently went so far as to install a security certificate so they can spy on all your private connections (https) with any secure website your visited.  And it appears they have been doing so since 2010.  You can read the details at the National Cyber Awareness System website.

image This may not be the exact same behaviour, but in my mind, the similarity is that a big company thinks they can get away with infecting consumers computers for their benefit and gain.  How is this different than some black hat hacker installing a BotNet virus in your computer, and hijacking it for their personal gain.  Or a criminal that infects your computer with a SpyBot to steal your passwords and credit card numbers.

Then again, if Lenovo is only stealing your personal information related to marketing, and watching your buying and viewing behaviour so they can affect your buying behaviour and sell the details, is it any different than what Google, Facebook, or Amazon does?  Maybe Lenovo has buried the disclaimer deep in their 30 page Terms of Service agreement, that a consumer clicks OK on when they first turn their on the new computer.  Which would then make it the same as agreeing to a “free” Google or Facebook service.  In which case what have they done wrong after all?

Regardless, this type of behaviour in the tech world never seems to be truly illegal, so long as there is a disclaimer somewhere that a person clicks on blindly.  Sadly this spying on consumers by large companies, and even  governments, will continue to be the way of the future.

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