Come See the Stalker Side of Sears

Two articles in the past few days have cast a dark light on Sears, and have cast doubt on whether they are a worthy entity with which to do business.

The first comes via computer security expert Bruce Schneier, who writes in his blog that Sears will now install spyware on your computer if you join their “My SHC Community.” Pretty nasty stuff – apparently it will track all outgoing and incoming traffic on your computer and monitor your email, not to mention match it up with information they already have. There’s a full writeup on the Computer Associates web site, including an analysis of the (lack of) disclosure about what this software will do on Sears’ web site.

The other article, also from the CA web site (via Consumerist), shows how you can look up anyone’s previous purchases from Sears on their managemyhome.com web site, apparently going back as far a television bought in 1978. I understand that how looking up one’s own purchases would be useful, but having no real security safeguards on this data is criminally irresponsible.

So what do we learn from these episodes? It appears that Sears is not only content to engage in wholesale surveillance of their customers, but they also cannot be trusted to adequately protect the data that they collect. Do you feel safe doing business with such a company?

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