Incident Response, TDR

Sears, FTC settle spyware accusations

Sears Holdings Corp. has settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over charges that it failed to "adequately disclose" that it was collecting the personal information of customers through a software download.

Under the agreement, Sears said it would stop collecting the confidential data of consumers and destroy any information it had previously amassed.

The charges stemmed from an application that Sears paid and customers $10 to download. The software was supposed to only track their online browsing habits, but actually collected confidential information, such as online bank statements and drug prescription records.

"Only in a lengthy user license agreement, available to consumers at the end of a multistep registration process, did Sears disclose the full extent of the information the software tracked," the FTC said in a news release issued Thursday.

Sears, in a statement, said it never disclosed any of the data obtained during the "research project," which took place two years ago. The company said it destroyed all information at the end of the project.

"Sears Holdings takes the safety and security of our customers' private information very seriously," the statement said. "The research project was completed over a year ago and no further similar studies have been conducted since, nor are any planned going forward."

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