Steven Gray reports:
For nearly a year starting in April 2007, Sears ran “My SHC Community,” an online feature that invited consumers to download software onto their computers that, according to the Federal Trade Commission, asked them to “journal your shopping and purchasing behavior.” The tracking software ran constantly, even when users left Sears’ website, and it collected an astonishing trove of information: details about bank accounts, medical prescriptions and library loans, as well as portions of e–mails and instant messages. Sears paid users $10 to join the community. But the only way you’d know about the scope of the data-mining was if you bothered to read deep into the fine print, all the way to the 75th line. Last June, the FTC declared Sears’ practice “deceptive” and ordered the data destroyed.
The Sears case may be indicative of a larger trend.
Read more in Time.