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They're climbing in your window, they're monitoring you on your webcam... so hide your kids, hide your wife...  (Source: YouTube)

The Byrds were shocked to discover their newly purchased computer had been photographing them for months. They filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania court.  (Source: The Casper Star-Tribune, Dan Cepeda, Associated Press)

Aaron's Inc. claims that it does not routinely install the monitoring software on computers at its 1,140 stores across the U.S. and Canada. It did not, however, clarify how many franchisees might be doing this (the store in question was a franchisee). The software spies on customers, recording screenshots, seeing what they type, and taking webcam pictures of them.  (Source: Flickr)
Class action lawsuit against Aaron's Inc. is pending

Crystal and Brian Byrd were a hard working couple, but like many people in today’s economy, money was tight.  So when they wanted a new computer they turned to popular rent-to-own chain Aaron's Inc. (AAN) to affordably purchase a new system.  Picking a Dell Inspiron, they were happy and productive -- but they would soon make a disturbing discovery.

I. Big Brother -- Your Local Store Manager -- is Watching You

After entering a rent-to-own contract on the laptop in early 2010, the couple completed their last payment in October 2010, a month ahead of schedule.  But Mr. Byrd fortuitously made a mistake in his payment submission resulting in Aaron's never logging it as received.

In December, the store manager showed up at the couple's house with an order to repossess the computer.  And he carried with him a far more disturbing item -- a picture taken from the computer's web cam inside the couple's home, which Aaron's had been using as a remote spy cam.  He claimed the picture was "evidence".

The Byrds were appalled and called the police.  A police investigation revealed that Aaron's employees "routinely installed the PC Rental Agent" on rent-to-own laptops.  The PC Rental Agent, a product of DesignerWare, was capable of regularly taking pictures of users, taking screenshots, and logging their key presses -- all without the user ever realizing it.

II. The Byrds File Suit

The Wyoming couple has filed a lawsuit [PDF] in US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.  Their lawyers are seeking to gain class action status for the suit.

In an Associated Press interview, Mr. Byrd said his primary concern is for his wife and child's safety and privacy.  He states, "Crystal gets online before she gets a shower and checks her grades. Who knows? They could print that stuff off there and take it home with them. I've got a 5-year-old boy who runs around all day and sometimes he gets out of the tub running around for 20, 30 seconds while we're on the computer. What if they took a picture of that? I wouldn't want that kind of garbage floating around out there."

The computer involved in the case currently remains in police custody.  And Aaron's has thus far refused to comment on how or why it spies on its customers.

The company has 1,140 stores in the U.S. and Canada and made $123.6M USD in calendar 2011.  So a class action lawsuit involving all of the chain's computer-buying customers has the potential to be huge.

III.  How Strong is the Case?

The law is hardly black and white on the issue of companies remotely monitoring customers.  But legal precedent seems to be on the Byrds' side.

similar lawsuit was filed in 2010 by parents of children in the Lower Merion School District of Pennsylvania.  The school district had issued laptops to its 2,300 students as part of a high-tech initiative, but packed them with remote monitoring software, capable of turning on the webcam and taking shots.

The district maintained that the feature was only activated when a laptop was recorded missing or stolen.  And it said the service successfully led to the recovery of 28 laptops.

But facing a firestorm of legal and public scrutiny, the district agreed to remove the remote monitoring software and settle two lawsuits for $610,000 USD.

By contrast, the Aaron's case appears even stronger.  The Lower Merion School District at least informed parents in their contract that they were being monitored.  It does not appear that Aaron's does so with its customers.

Furthermore, the school district, despite in effect losing (settling), provided a wealth of evidence that the remote monitoring features were used sparingly and responsibly.  It remains to be seen if the same is true for Aaron's.

Updated: Wednesday May 4, 2011 9:50 a.m. -

Aaron's has released a statement.

It writes:

Aaron's, Inc....said today that a lawsuit filed by a Wyoming couple regarding a violation of privacy relating to a computer they rented from an Aaron's franchise store is without merit against Aaron's, Inc.

The Company believes that none of its over 1,140 Company-operated stores have used the product developed or provided by PC Rental Agent or Designerware LLC, the two vendors named in the lawsuit, and neither vendor is approved or have done any business with Aaron's, Inc.

Aaron's, Inc. respects its customers' privacy and has not authorized any of its corporate stores to install software that can activate a customer's webcam, capture screenshots, or track keystrokes. The named plaintiffs leased the computer at issue from an independently owned and operated franchisee. Aaron's, Inc. intends to vigorously defend itself against these allegations.

It still remains unclear how many franchisees of Aaron's Inc. are using the software, even if the company's claims are substantiated.  

The store in question was also reportedly decorated to appear like a first-party Aaron's store, so the case still raises significant questions for customers -- who likely will be unable to determine between some first-party and franchise outlets.



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Aaron's in Illinois
By SiliconJon on 5/4/2011 9:07:56 AM , Rating: 4
Somebody should check out their PC's in Illinois where it's a felony to "wiretap" even in public, though it seems businesses and police are immune to criminal charges in such cases, and police are immune to civil charges as well.

I don't have any first hand knowledge of any such shenanigans, but I'll bet a wooden nickel our area is just as prone to this behavior.




RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By mcnabney on 5/4/2011 10:00:53 AM , Rating: 5
The only location information that a webcam would provide might be 'on some guys lap, sitting on the couch'. The only possible legal use for this information is if the renter claims he doesn't have it and they can produce pictures of him using it.

However, that doesn't matter. He could pitch the laptop in the trash and still be responsible for the payments so it changes nothing. And the keylogger is outright unforgiveable.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By SunTzu on 5/4/2011 11:04:58 AM , Rating: 2
...keypresses. Thats what a keylogger does.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Souka on 5/4/2011 11:25:31 AM , Rating: 5
I like how they infer that the wife or child might be naked in front of the laptop, yet no mention of the husband's hours of nakedness jerking off to pr0n...

Just saying....


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By mcnabney on 5/4/2011 12:43:37 PM , Rating: 2
Well, my wife leaves her laptop in the bedroom all the time. Sometimes even left on. Of course I am not dumb enough to 'rent' a laptop.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: 0
RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By ekv on 5/4/2011 1:16:55 PM , Rating: 2
So if it's only a QWERT keyboard it's only half-fledged?


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: 0
RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By redbone75 on 5/5/2011 2:58:11 AM , Rating: 2
Please get off DailyTech if you don't know what a keylogger is, and please get off drugs/go back to school/get a brain if you can't deduce what a keylogger is by... looking at the word?


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By BioHazardous on 5/4/2011 9:31:49 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Except the computer is still owned by Aaron inc. so essentially they are wiretaping themselves.
The field of view camera is very narrow and is used only to asses the location of the passed due payments of said property.

No they're not wiretapping themselves. The camera and computer aren't in their possession. That's an absurd rationalization.

The field of view of the camera is narrow? Seriously? WTF is wrong with you? You believe the images are somehow used to locate the computer? Are you serioulsy that dumb? How is an image of some person's random room in their house going to help track down a missing computer? Oh that's right, it won't.

The keylogger makes even less sense and should definitely be illegal.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By BioHazardous on 5/4/2011 10:27:15 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
>.> The computer is FOR RENT!

So if you leased a car you think the company you leased it from should be able to watch everything that goes on in your car as well as listen to all your conversations?

I don't think you fully appreciate or understand the right to privacy.

That would also be like saying because I bought a TV and PS3 on financing terms that the financing company has a right to monitor everything going on in the room where I have the TV and log my keystrokes (sensitive data such as login IDs, passwords, credit card numbers, etc).

Nothing about that sounds reasonable or legal.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Souka on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By yomamafor1 on 5/4/2011 12:32:06 PM , Rating: 5
With all due respect, you're out of your mind.

Even car rental company wouldn't dare putting a voice recording device in their cars.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By mcnabney on 5/4/2011 12:46:34 PM , Rating: 5
No they won't because the renter has a reasonable expectation of privacy inside of a rental car. I assume you would think that it is okay for landlords to setup spycams throughout their apartments?


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By kyp275 on 5/4/2011 2:12:30 PM , Rating: 3
someone here may want to go read the 4th Amendment before making himself out to look like a bigger **tard.

This is something anyone with a remotely basic grasp of US criminal law would know.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By geddarkstorm on 5/4/2011 2:28:01 PM , Rating: 3
You are seriously creeping me out. I think you need to not be so naive, and rethink this issue.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By yomamafor1 on 5/4/2011 1:08:35 PM , Rating: 2
No they won't. Most rental cars already have GPS installed, and they can be activated if a car was deemed stolen. What reasonable evidence would the rental company obtain from recording the conversation of the rentee without their consent?


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By InfinityzeN on 5/4/2011 1:11:19 PM , Rating: 2
Except when something is rented, for the length of the rental the item in question belongs to the renter.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Solandri on 5/4/2011 1:01:28 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
They have right to know whats going on with their property except the logins of customers accounts. At least thats how I see it. So they can know the location of the laptop I have no problem with it.

You can get the location (to within at least a few houses) from the IP address assigned to the computer when it gets on the Internet. There are plenty of stolen laptop and phone recovery services based on this. The recovery software hides on the computer, when it's connected to the Internet, it phones home. If it finds out that it's been marked as stolen, it reports its IP address. Company takes it to the police, police issue a warrant/subpoena for the ISP, ISP tells them which address had that IP address at the time, police raid home and recover stolen property.

Claiming you need a photo from the webcam is dubious, and claiming you need to install a keylogger is asinine. The potential for abuse with those far, far outweighs the additional recovery potential they provide above an IP address. It's not like illegal filesharing where you're trying to narrow the identity down to a single person you can file charges against. You're mostly interested in recovery of the stolen property.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By mcnabney on 5/4/2011 2:05:26 PM , Rating: 3
You missed a step.

When you go to the police with all of that information you will be told to just submit an insurance claim. The police DO NOT run down property crime. If they find the items in their normal work, they might get it back to you. Maybe.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Warwulf on 5/5/2011 12:37:19 AM , Rating: 1
First of all, the property was now the Byrds as they had finished their financing payments. They owned the property.

Second, your argument that a company should be able to spy on people through the items they finance is preposterous. So, anyone who has a mortgage should subject themselves to impromptu surveillance by the mortgage company? If you bought a condom with your credit card (another form of revolving credit), should the credit card company representatives have the right to a front row peep show?


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Divide Overflow on 5/4/2011 10:50:35 AM , Rating: 2
By your logic, hotel owners should be allowed to record every move you make in a rented room.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By phantom505 on 5/4/2011 11:09:55 AM , Rating: 2
Some do. ;)


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Souka on 5/4/2011 11:28:10 AM , Rating: 3
Lets see the footage from the hotel rooms the college cheerleaders are stayign at for competetion.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By neogrin on 5/4/2011 12:20:49 PM , Rating: 2
Please read the story before you post next time:

"After entering a rent-to-own contract on the laptop in early 2010, the couple completed their last payment in October 2010"

The article says that Mr. Byrd made a mistake in his payment submission resulting in Aaron's never logging it as received but most other articles say that Aaron made the accounting mistake.

But regardless, the couple Owned The Computer. Aaron was spying on them through there legally owned Privet Property.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Solandri on 5/4/2011 1:18:51 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Well according to their Aaron's records the payment wasn't made, because Mr. Byrd made a mistake.

The company's employee stole the payment (purportedly).
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/03/national...
quote:
The couple had a signed receipt but later learned an employee who took their final cash payment was suspected of stealing customer payments, which is why the store manager believed they hadn't paid for the computer and came to repossess it.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By deathwombat on 5/4/2011 5:46:26 PM , Rating: 2
Kurz, let me explain something to you.

When you rent an apartment, your landlord does not have the right to enter at any time. Yes, the landlord owns the apartment. When you rent something to someone, almost all of the rights to that object belong to the renter as long as they're not behind on their rent. If your landlord wants to enter the apartment to check on his property, he is required by law to give you 24 hours notice.

So, here we have a rented laptop. Here's why the owner can't turn on the webcam or log keystrokes:

#1: The owner transferred all rights to the laptop to the renter.
#2: The laptop is in the private residence of the renter. The owner retains some rights to the laptop, but has absolutely no rights to the renter's home, so he has absolutely no right to take photographs of the inside of the owner's home.
#3: Most jurisdictions have privacy laws that protect "a person's right to not be observed or recorded in a place that they reasonably ought to be able to consider private". The wording of such laws was to prevent people from installing cameras in public washrooms and changerooms, and to prevent peeping toms from spying on people within their own homes.

Going back to the apartment analogy, I would say, at best, the owner would have to give the renter 24 hours notice of their intention to activate the camera.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By dixieone on 5/5/2011 6:29:12 PM , Rating: 2
They can track the computers, heard the interview on the "Today Show" today


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By neogrin on 5/4/2011 12:03:33 PM , Rating: 2
Except that the computer was NOT still owned by Aaron inc.

quote:
the couple completed their last payment in October 2010


This article says it was a mistake on the part of the couple that the final payment wasn't recorded correctly, but most other articles say it was Aaron inc that made the accounting mistake.

Either way, the computer was not a Rental anymore. They paid it off a month early even. The couple legally owned it, not Aaron.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By mcnabney on 5/4/2011 2:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
The first step of that process is to send a letter to the customer, asking where that last payment was. Not showing up at their door with screen caps.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By geddarkstorm on 5/4/2011 2:34:44 PM , Rating: 2
You have absolutely no idea how business law works, or what a contract is. It's actually rather interesting stuff, when you get into it.

Furthermore, since the laptop was in the couple's private home, it doesn't matter how owns the laptop if it isn't stolen: their right for privacy trumps all. And as others have said, while renting and meeting the payment schedule and amounts, the laptop is their private property, not the company's (the company no longer owns the laptop, they just possess the right to RECOVER the laptop if the contract is not fulfilled. But ownership is actually with the couple). Again, learn how contracts work, it'll help you a lot to understand this issue and why it can even go to court in the first place.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By ARoyalF on 5/4/2011 6:47:34 PM , Rating: 2
Kurz = Aaron's employee or franchisee.


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By ARoyalF on 5/4/2011 6:49:35 PM , Rating: 2
Or troll lol


RE: Aaron's in Illinois
By dixieone on 5/5/2011 6:27:20 PM , Rating: 2
I am 67 and have a new Dell Inspiron from Aaron, have had since last Nov. Before I get told how stupid I am a rent to owner and probably deserve this because I didn't buy, my credit is ruined, with having $8000 in medical bills, my husband ending his 50 yr career being laid off in 07, having diabetes, can't find another job, that I was permaently disabled from an auto accident in 99, that ended my career at the VA, as a RN CRM. That we lost everything after he was laid off, and one week later I dislocated my shoulder. That we have to have a computer, all our banking, social security, disablity retirement, etc records are all computerzed. That we are trying unsuccessfuly to move to Vt to be near my daughter in Vt because I can't drive due to disability.

I have a new Dell Inspiron,rented to purchase from Aarons and this makes me ill. This is an invasion of privacy, if they can take pictures, it is also said they can access my credit card, financial records, email, web surfing etc. How would you like this done? If you rent a car, how would you like a GPS, a fuel shutoff,all without your knowledge? Then you get laid off and you are arrested saying you are stealing their car?

It is one thing to have a device such as this, and ask us to sign a release and if we don't like it, we don't rent the computer, but don't pull out some picture, taken God only knows when, and slap that on a table in front of us. I found my CAM by mistake, reading in bed, and hit the wrong button. It is one thing to back Aarons,and it's another to run down the people who use them, but we "stupid, poor, underprepared financially" people have rights also.


Formatting
By Camikazi on 5/4/2011 9:06:48 AM , Rating: 2
And this is one of the reasons I always format and do a clean install of any computer friends or family get as soon as I can get my hands on them, other reasons being the useless crap installed on them that will never be used.




RE: Formatting
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Formatting
By neogrin on 5/4/2011 12:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
They Did own the computer.

They payed it off a month early.


RE: Formatting
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Formatting
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/4/2011 1:14:14 PM , Rating: 2
You are not very bright are you?


RE: Formatting
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Formatting
By kyp275 on 5/4/2011 2:15:50 PM , Rating: 3
apparently neither do you, lol


RE: Formatting
By espaghetti on 5/5/2011 10:21:37 AM , Rating: 2
Stop posting. What goes on in your head, hurts ours.


RE: Formatting
By theapparition on 5/4/2011 1:32:15 PM , Rating: 3
Renting an item does give you ownership rights for the period of the contract.

Your first argument about them not owning it is incorrect.

Secondly, you argue that ownership only transfers when both parties agree, which is again false. If terms of the legal contract are met, then ownership is transferred. The courts can certainly make a property determination in the case of disputed items, which at least one side will lose thier argument. In short, one side will not have agreed to ownership transfer but that doesn't matter.

I have no idea why you are arguing this point. I do believe owners have a right to recover damages resulting in loss of property, but what you are arguing about is that they now have ownership privledges to do what they please. Precident after precident has already been established in these instances. When you rent an item to someone, you still own it, but the ownership rights transfer for the period of contract to the renter.

In no circumstance can the renter's privacy be violated....for any reason. Period.


RE: Formatting
By Camikazi on 5/4/2011 5:58:03 PM , Rating: 1
So if the comp were to get a virus and not be usable I would be stuck with it being useless? Sorry but if I have a comp rented or not I am formatting it the second I get it. Going by your renting thing I can't install software on it either since it modifies the comp as much as formatting it would.


RE: Formatting
By mcnabney on 5/4/2011 9:16:25 AM , Rating: 3
I imagine the install disk that the computer came with also installs the spyware. Unless you think someone that rents-to-own a laptop also goes out and pays $100+ for a OEM or retail version of Windows.


RE: Formatting
By DanNeely on 5/4/2011 9:35:26 AM , Rating: 2
There probably isn't even a restore disk at all. One of the features of the crapware installed is that it provides one touch reimaging of the system.


RE: Formatting
By acer905 on 5/4/2011 12:13:18 PM , Rating: 2
You do realize that any install disk will work. Find a friend who has one, or get an image off the internet. If you have a license, you're good no matter how you install it. And, conveniently the authenticity sticker on the computer has the code!


RE: Formatting
By Trilaworks on 5/4/2011 9:38:04 AM , Rating: 2
As an IT consultant, I would definitely agree with Camikazi! Reformat, and do a clean install of Windows.

While some people may not have the skill to do this themselves, it shouldn't cost you anything if you do. The windows license belongs to the PC hardware itself. You would not need to purchase a $100 copy of Windows to re-install. You just need to buy/borrow/download a cheap generic Windows OEM install CD (you can even call Dell and have one sent to you...). As long as you match the version of Windows you install with the license sticker that is required to be on the side of the PC, it is perfectly legal.


RE: Formatting
By Homerboy on 5/4/11, Rating: 0
RE: Formatting
By Taft12 on 5/4/2011 10:25:19 AM , Rating: 4
Anyone post that opens with "As a consultant..." is from someone more interested in patting themselves on the back than providing useful information.

It's great that your uncle once paid you some money to fix his computer though!


RE: Formatting
By Homerboy on 5/4/2011 10:34:49 AM , Rating: 2
LOL totally true.


RE: Formatting
By PCMerlin on 5/4/2011 10:36:55 AM , Rating: 3
Since when can you not format a computer you rent? If that is the case, then there are a LOT of corporations that are in BIG trouble as the first thing they do when they lease (aka "rent") computer systems is re-format them.


RE: Formatting
By phantom505 on 5/4/2011 11:14:46 AM , Rating: 2
What is the basis of your nonsense? "You can't format." LOL, you have used a computer before right? Unless expressly written in the contract (and even so how can they stop you?), which should sound alarms for anyone reasonable enough to think there was something hanky going on.

Your dumb really comes out with B)


RE: Formatting
By neogrin on 5/4/2011 12:10:37 PM , Rating: 2
As a "consultant" you should realize that:

A) You should read the article before you post a reply

B) "After entering a rent-to-own contract on the laptop in early 2010, the couple completed their last payment in October 2010"


RE: Formatting
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Formatting
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/4/2011 1:21:06 PM , Rating: 2
The only argument that is flawed is yours


Absolutely Ridiculous
By Golgatha on 5/4/2011 9:55:25 AM , Rating: 5
So if an individual pulled this crap they'd have their life ruined forever on child porn charges, but since a faceless corporation is doing it, it is completely open to debate whether it's ok to do or not?! WTF people, no one has the right to have their private home blatantly wiretapped and images captured to ensure a $500 laptop gets paid for!

I honestly hope people go to jail over this type of BS. Unfortunately since it's a corporation doing it, it probably won't happen.




RE: Absolutely Ridiculous
By guffwd13 on 5/4/2011 11:58:03 AM , Rating: 2
Kudos for that point. I agree wholeheartedly... and am disheartened by the truth of it...


A day late and a detail short
By DanNeely on 5/4/2011 9:33:53 AM , Rating: 1
The insanity was done by a franchisee, not by Aarons corporate.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/aarons-inc...




By mcnabney on 5/4/2011 10:05:32 AM , Rating: 3
Doesn't matter. They have a licensee/agent agreement which doesn't insulate the parent company. Essentially every McDonalds is a franchise, but every time there is a lawsuit both the parent company and the franchise owner are named.


PLEASE HELP
By Atl_Girl00 on 5/5/2011 11:16:38 AM , Rating: 2
I am part of the general public that is not exactly tech savvy so I do need help. After watching/reading everything on the news about this I am greatly disturbed. I use my computer for personal reasons and for work. How do I check and see if the laptop I BOUGHT from Aaron's has this particular software installed in it? My laptop is paid off but since they don't tell you (and it's not in my contract)about the software they're not going to tell you that once it's paid off that they won't use the software anymore either. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated; I feel incredibly disgusted and violated.




RE: PLEASE HELP
By godling on 5/5/2011 11:38:57 AM , Rating: 2
If that software exists / is running on your system, there's a process somewhere that's associated with it. Download and run HijackThis, and find a tech support forum that can help you identify the processes it finds. Or PM me.


By mcnabney on 5/4/2011 9:14:15 AM , Rating: 3
A keylogger and webcam that returns information to the company? Seriously? I could see them putting a Lojack device on there to transmit the location, but only if not paid for. That would also be included in the rental agreement and I imagine most people would be cool with that type of security. But surreptitiously taking pictures in a private home and capturing keystrokes for things like logins and passwords goes way over the top. And I imagine the repo-man that had this info wasn't an attorney or anything.




By CrazyBernie on 5/4/2011 9:04:49 AM , Rating: 2
They really need more than trained monkeys wearing suits to be running things.




This is going to be EPIC !!!
By Shark Tek on 5/4/2011 9:13:27 AM , Rating: 2
The biggest mistake of 2011 and probably the decade.

They (Aaron) just deserve it.




Spanking it
By danjl on 5/4/2011 10:23:40 AM , Rating: 2
Dam, I just don't want to get caught spanking it...




Why would you need a picture?
By SgtTech on 5/4/2011 12:27:37 PM , Rating: 2
OK so they rented to own a Laptop, the company is worried about loss so they track the PC, ever heard of LoJack? Why do you need to take pictures of the people and why do you not inform them of this feature? They could install LoJack as a benefit of rent to own, that way they could wipe their data if it was stolen and the company could recover the laptop. So win win situation.

Secondly, how would a small affiliate afford custom software if they have the above solution? So assuming this story is accurate, there is more to it than just a small rogue shop.

Finally, anyone leasing a computer or even getting one now days should just wipe the HDD and load a clean new OS.




There's Something About Mary
By GTVic on 5/4/2011 3:08:32 PM , Rating: 2
Everytime I see that hair style I am reminded of Cameron Diaz in There's Something About Mary where she gets you know what in her bangs.

Why do women think that look is attractive?




By Belard on 5/4/2011 7:34:52 PM , Rating: 2
Typical PC rental is about 2-3X the cost of purchase. Geez, save for a few months and buy the computer outright. I've seen some on TV which are a complete joke. BlueHippo, I checked out their prices. Here is how that scam works:
Lets say its a $2000 "rent-to-own" for desktop/monitor/printer. The sucker sends $100 a month, then after 6~9 months, Hippo sends you the computer. The $2000 systems usually costs $600~700 at Best Buy, etc. What a rip-off. Worse yet, many of these poor-suckers NEVER even get their computers after sending in $1000~2000!!

AAron, you'll get your computer on Day-1 (if you credit is kind of good). But again, $1000 for a $600 valued computer.

Having a remote-control web-cam that someone doesn't know is working - IS and SHOULD be illegal.

If someone from the store turns it on and watch people having sex, or kids in various state of undress + the ability to save the photos or videos, is WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!

The PHOTOS prove nothing. Its not needed.

Automobiles that are on payment plans (like CarMax, etc) install hidden GPS units so they can repo the car. But YOU know about it.




Hey baby.
By rburnham on 5/9/2011 9:09:49 PM , Rating: 2
The real losers here are the people looking at the photos. I can't imagine most of the people are as cute as Mrs. Byrd.




Who The $!*@ Would Rent to Own A PC?
By Arsynic on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Who The $!*@ Would Rent to Own A PC?
By Divide Overflow on 5/4/2011 10:54:11 AM , Rating: 3
Right. They're not as tech savvy as you, so obviously they don't deserve any rights to privacy in their own home.


RE: Who The $!*@ Would Rent to Own A PC?
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: Who The $!*@ Would Rent to Own A PC?
By cjohnson2136 on 5/4/2011 12:15:43 PM , Rating: 2
If the company stated in the rent-to-own agreement that they had the ability to do this and could do it on occasion then I don't see an issue with it. But if they are monitoring you with out your consent that's a different issue all together.


RE: Who The $!*@ Would Rent to Own A PC?
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: -1
By ClownPuncher on 5/4/2011 1:31:10 PM , Rating: 2
You cant legally film people in their own home without permission, unless from the street or other public property. It doesn't matter if it was a rental or not. Your posts are getting a bit loonie.


RE: Who The $!*@ Would Rent to Own A PC?
By INeedCache on 5/4/2011 12:48:34 PM , Rating: 2
So if you rent an apartment you should expect no privacy, as the renter has the right to spy on you? Install a camera to peep in the shower to make sure you're not damaging the tile? Get real. Without a stipulation in the contract allowing them to do this, Aaron's is liable.


RE: Who The $!*@ Would Rent to Own A PC?
By Kurz on 5/4/11, Rating: 0
RE: Who The $!*@ Would Rent to Own A PC?
By AerieC on 5/4/2011 2:05:49 PM , Rating: 3
It's not a straw man. In both cases you're renting and utilizing property that is not your own wherein electronic surveillance equipment is installed.

You posted before:
quote:
Their property their rules... Of course it would be nice if they stated in their agreement. Though whenever you make a lease agreement you are usually under the mercy of the owner unless there is some law that states otherwise.

That is incorrect.

It doesn't matter whether it's in an apartment or on a rented computer; most states have laws against electronic surveillance without consent.

See: http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=13492

Also, in the lawsuit (linked in the article), in the first section it states:
quote:
electronic communications and/or images were intercepted, accessed, monitored and/or transmitted by a spying device or software without the customer's authorization

I would assume "without the customer's authorization" means it wasn't in the contract.


By dixieone on 5/5/2011 6:34:40 PM , Rating: 2
It's not in the contract. If it was, along with a signature that someone explained and warned your picture will be taken, and the police on your trail fine. Take our picture while in Aarons, just like a driver's license, but be up front, don't come to our home,slap down some photo taken with a CAM and make accusations, that are not only untrue, because we paid off the computer, but acting like some dime store cowboy detective who dosen't know what the F he's doing. Aarons deserve to lose some money just on plain old stupidity alone.


By danjl on 5/4/2011 1:58:23 PM , Rating: 1
and a in a year the computer you bought outright, that's not a obsolete piece of S%$T?


"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs














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