The FTC recently announced approval of the terms of a settlement with Sears Holding Corp. (which owns Sears and K-Mart stores) over charges that the company failed to "adequately disclose" that it was collecting personal information using a spyware program secretly installed on consumers' computers. Between 2007 and 2008, 15 of every 100 visitors to sears.com or kmart.com were presented with a pop-up window that offered the opportunity to "talk directly to a retailer" and become part of "a place where your voice is heard and your opinion matters, and what you want and need counts!" No mention was made that this "opportunity" also installed detailed tracking software on the user's computer. Customers who asked for more information were offered a $10 coupon in exchange for downloading - and keeping on their computer for at least one month - software from Sears or K-mart that would allow them to become "part of something new, something different[.]"
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