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October 14, 2012

Rent to own, or rent to be owned

(Continued)

NORMAN —

“An agreement to rent a computer doesn’t give a company license to access consumers’ private emails, bank account information, and medical records, or, even worse, webcam photos of people in the privacy of their own homes,” said Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC. “The FTC orders today will put an end to their cyber spying.”

Many believe the FTC orders amount to nothing more than a slap on the wrist, however. No fines, and nobody really gets in trouble; the companies simply have to promise not to be bad anymore, and keep records for the next 20 years proving how well they are behaving. How effective the FTC orders will be in preventing rental companies from spying on their customers is anyone’s guess. Here’s one solution: it’s my experience that a piece of black electrician’s tape does a pretty good job of disabling a built-in webcam; no software required.

Based in Norman, OK, Dave Moore has been an independent computer service technician since 1984. He also teaches computer security workshops to public and private organizations. He can be reached at (405)919-9901 or www.davemoorecomputers.com.

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