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Sears Using Spyware to Monitor Your Personal Information
switched/Aol news ^ | 01/03/2008 | Tim Stevens

Posted on 01/07/2008 4:28:34 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

If you've signed up to receive e-mails from Sears, and then clicked on to join the retailer's "My SHC Community," it's likely you've been providing more information to more people than you thought. Even more troubling, it turns out that you're not just sharing information with Sears, but also with a company called comScore, which tracks and aggregates Internet browsing habits.

Installing the software from Sears results in the installation of software called VoiceFive, which provides data to comScore. It's essentially spyware. comScore is the company behind the (disputed) numbers that indicated more people were stealing Radiohead's latest album than downloading it legally, as well as the statistics that showed GodTube was the fasted growing site last August.

These sorts of stats come from monitoring and compiling the habits of millions Web surfers who often unknowingly running the comScore software. Likewise, those who have installed the software through links from Sears may not actually know what they're participating in. Buried deep in the privacy statement users must agree to before signing up for SHC is this frightening statement:

Once you install our application, it monitors all of the Internet behavior that occurs on the computer on which you install the application, including both your normal web browsing and the activity that you undertake during secure sessions, such as filling a shopping basket, completing an application form or checking your online accounts, which may include personal financial or health information. Sounds scary, especially the part about monitoring "both your normal web browsing and the activity that you undertake during secure sessions, such as...checking your online accounts." The bit about "personal financial or health information" is scary, too. The above wording would certainly ward off anyone who actually reads these sorts of things, but we're guessing that the average Sears shopper isn't thoroughly scanning through the privacy statement.

According to BetaNews, the disclosure may be a little too well hidden to meet the intents of FTC regulations that require companies to make such spyware inclusion very clearly apparent. Many would agree that burying it in the middle of a multi-page privacy statement doesn't do much for clarity.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News
KEYWORDS: bigbrother; comscore; internet; malware; privacy; retail; sears; spyware; voicefive

1 posted on 01/07/2008 4:28:40 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I dropped my Sears card many, many, many years ago. I rarely if ever shop there, usually never. I got tired to the way some of their people treated you like you were completely stupid or something. Plus, Sears is in the damned mall and I HATE MALLS!!!


2 posted on 01/07/2008 4:30:23 PM PST by RetiredArmy (Better prepare, come Nov 08, we have a Marxist Commissar President and Marxist Congress.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Better then the Chinese, use all the spy ware programs and you’ll be safe, who gives a shit where I go?


3 posted on 01/07/2008 4:30:43 PM PST by boomop1
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

K-Mart has always been a sleazy operation. Good to see that bankruptcy and their purchase of Sears didn’t change their corporate culture.


4 posted on 01/07/2008 4:31:54 PM PST by PAR35
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Sears stock has been down lately and has dropped below the psychologically significant $100 barrier. They have not paid a dividend lately.


5 posted on 01/07/2008 4:34:15 PM PST by RightWhale (Dean Koonz is good, but my favorite authors are Dun and Bradstreet)
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To: RetiredArmy
Sears is in the damned mall and I HATE MALLS!!!

So right.

Women say men never do anything for them..........not true. Men build malls. For women. Women love malls. Real men hate them.

6 posted on 01/07/2008 4:36:14 PM PST by Balding_Eagle (If America falls, darkness will cover the face of the earth for a thousand years.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

This does not surprise me at all and that makes me a bit sad, because I can remember when everything came from Sears.
But now, Sears has terrible customer service - so bad that they’ve been in the news a number of times lately.
Do a search on Google News for “Sears customer service”.
It’s sad.
I don’t shop there anymore and won’t ever again.


7 posted on 01/07/2008 4:38:27 PM PST by mountainbunny
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To: RetiredArmy

Malls do suck, but the number one reason I don’t shop there much anymore is they don’t have bigger ticket items in stock. Who wants to wait around forever to get your stuff?


8 posted on 01/07/2008 4:39:25 PM PST by pepperhead (Kennedy's float, Mary Jo's don't!)
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To: mountainbunny

Not to mention their “bait and switch” techniques. Advertise a special, when you go in to purchase the advertised item … the sales clerk will say something like “the advertisement was printed up wrong”. However, they will be more than glad to show you something along the same lines, just a little more expensive. Sears is the last place I shop nowadays.


9 posted on 01/07/2008 4:45:00 PM PST by doc1019 (Rabbit and the Hare Fred 08)
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To: RetiredArmy
I dropped my Sears card when they sold it to Citibank.

I HATE Citibank and will not give them my business.

As for shopping at Sears; I mostly shopped at Sears Hardware. They had a great store about 5 minutes from my house, and it was great for getting a tool or fastener or whatever I needed whilst in the middle of a project.

Then some corporate idiot thought it would be a good idea to sell out to KMart, and then some other idiot (KMart probably) decided that the hardware store should compete with, well, I don't know who exactly, and took out over half their hardware, and gave that space up to: APPLIANCES!

Place went down hill fast. Lasted a little over a year before they closed them down.

Finally, someone decided that Sears had been STUPID and turned the same place into an Ace Hardware.

The place it doing well, and I've got back my close to home quick fix hardware store.

SEARS is run by IDIOTS!

10 posted on 01/07/2008 4:46:26 PM PST by AFreeBird (Fred 08)
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To: doc1019

I’m sorry you had that experience. We had the same thing happen when we went looking for an appliance. It was the last thing we bought at Sears (maybe 2003). The story about picking it up is too long to tell here, but it was a mess.

The sad thing to me is that I can remember when I was in school going to Sears with my dad to get tools for his workshop or for his job. I can clearly remember him saying that Sears had good products and good service, neither of which are true today.

My dad is gone now, but that wasn’t too long ago.


11 posted on 01/07/2008 4:52:46 PM PST by mountainbunny
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To: mountainbunny

Sorry for your loss.


12 posted on 01/07/2008 4:58:56 PM PST by doc1019 (Rabbit and the Hare Fred 08)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
This isn’t unprecedented for Sears. Anyone else remember STAGE.DAT?
13 posted on 01/07/2008 5:07:15 PM PST by pnh102
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Does Sears still replace broken tools that they sold? I have a 1/2 inch ratchet drive about to give up the ghost and will need a replacement soon.


14 posted on 01/07/2008 6:29:36 PM PST by miele man (Continually voting against iodine deficient libs for 42 years)
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To: ShadowAce; SunkenCiv; Las Vegas Dave; BIGLOOK; G8 Diplomat

you’re not just sharing information with Sears, but also with a company called comScore, which tracks and aggregates Internet browsing habits.


15 posted on 01/07/2008 7:32:13 PM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: RetiredArmy

Sears is in the damned mall and I HATE MALLS!!!

Me too. Malls have got to be one of mankind's worst inventions!!

16 posted on 01/07/2008 7:41:45 PM PST by G8 Diplomat (Creatures are divided into 6 kingdoms: Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Monera, Protista, & Saudi Arabia)
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To: george76

Come see the software side of Sears.


17 posted on 01/07/2008 11:09:07 PM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________Profile updated Sunday, December 30, 2007)
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