A Wyoming couple says in a federal lawsuit filed last month in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania that a computer they leased from a national rent-to-own firm allowed that firm to secretly spy on them. In the class action lawsuit, Brian and Crystal Byrd said that Aaron’s Inc. took remote photographs of them, eavesdropped on their email and tracked their internet activities through a leased laptop equipped with hidden spying devices. The Plaintiffs accuse Aaron’s and DesignerWare LLC, the Pennsylvania-based manufacturer and marketer of the spying products, of breaking federal laws that protect computer privacy and prohibit electronic eavesdropping.
It is alleged in the lawsuit that the webcam was controlled by Aaron’s through a concealed electronic device the company installed and enabled on that and other leased computers “to remotely gather, intercept, transmit and store private electronic information and communications from (rent-to-own) customers, including but not limited to photographs, screen shots and keystrokes.” Aaron’s, a Georgia firm, leases everything from electronics to furniture and has more than 1,800 outlets in the United States and Canada, according to its web site.
The Plaintiffs are seeking damages for what they say was an illegal invasion of their privacy. They also are requiring that the court ban Aaron’s from installing and using the spying products and the sale of those products by DesignerWare. It will be most interesting to see how this case develops.
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