Liz Crenshaw's Guide to Consumer Issues, Recalls and More

National Retailer Settles Computer Spying Charges

By Liz Crenshaw and Patti Petitte
|  Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013  |  Updated 9:06 AM EDT
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National Retailer Settles Computer Spying Charges

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What if you rented a computer and found out it was taking pictures of you at home?

That's just what the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says Aaron's rent-to-own chain was doing.

The FTC says Aaron's provided its franchises with software used to keep track of the rented equipment, but the software also allowed the stores to take pictures of people through computer webcams.

Some snapshots included adults engaged in intimate activities, according to the FTC.

The FTC says the software was also used to capture users' logins for email accounts as well as financial and social media sites.

The settlement announced Tuesday prohibits Aaron's from using monitoring technology, except to provide tech support to the consumer.

The legal team for the consumers involved in the settlement released the following statement to NBCWashington.com late Tuesday afternoon. 

"The FTC settlement is promising news for consumers. The government's work confirms the troubling findings of our civil litigation. Too few consumers are aware of this type of spyware. We advocate further investigation, better consumer awareness and privacy reforms."

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