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Sears Installs Spyware 201

Gandalf_the_Beardy writes in with news that's been around a while but is getting more attention lately. Last month Benjamin Googins, a security researcher at CA, determined that Sears Holding Corp. installed ComScore spyware without adequate disclosure. Sears said, yes we tell people about tracking their browsing. On Jan. 1 spyware researcher Ben Edelman weighed in, noting that Sears' notice occurs on page 10 of a 54-page privacy statement, and twits Sears because its installation identifies the software as "VoiceFive" and later claims it's coming from a company called "TMRG, Inc." even though a packet sniffer confirms the software belongs to ComScore, adding "These confusing name-changes fit the trend among spyware vendors."
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Sears Installs Spyware

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  • Sears is evil. (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheDarkener ( 198348 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:42PM (#21896002) Homepage
    My dad worked for Sears as an appliance repair tech for 25+ years. The stories he's told me about their tracking their employees, their customer "service" practices, sales approaches, etc... is just plain wrong. He was constantly intimidated by "the boss" to perform better or he would be fired (even though he was the top performing tech in the area). It was nothing but stress for him and I wish he had never worked for them.

    Now he works for a small appliance/TV repair shop, and he absolutely loves it. Just another reason to flip the bird to big corporations - they don't care about people, they care about money. The spyware installation on their own customers' computer systems is just one small example.
    • Re:Sears is evil. (Score:5, Informative)

      by pilgrim23 ( 716938 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:49PM (#21896112)
      I also worked a time for Sears. I can confirm the above. Their motivational technique was equal part bombast and intimidation. Not a fun company to work and play with.
      • Re:Sears is evil. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by oahazmatt ( 868057 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @01:17PM (#21896600) Journal
        I worked for Sears for six days. I was in the electronics department, and didn't have a number so I couldn't ring up any sales myself.

        Anyway, someone asked the manager for Sunday off, the manager said "sure, find someone to switch with you." The employee did one better and just switched his name on the board with someone else, without asking anyone.

        So the person who has been switched realizes their now working six days in a row without being consulted, go to the manager, and the manager says "well so-and-so isn't working, so you need to find someone to cover." Somewhere I hear about this and mutter "isn't this the manager's job" and everyone just looks at me like I'm an idiot.

        This snowballs. I show up, a trainee, during a heavily promoted sale, as the only "associate" (Can't I be a freakin' employee) working the electronics floor for four hours. I can't ring up sales. So I tell people the truth. I also tell them about other locations in the mall where they can find the product they're looking for. And you know what, about 30% came back to me later to buy the stuff when they knew I could ring up sales. One person even told the manager that I was the best employee he'd seen at that store and I bent over backwards to make him happy even if he didn't buy from me, and that if I wasn't there whenever he came in, he wouldn't buy from the store at all.

        So now the manager was not happy with me because I made him and the other employees "look bad", to quote him.

        I drove into work on that seventh day, and it was an absolute mad house. Big sale, horribly understocked (1 new computer, 3 floor models, about 25 people wanting them) and the manager starts telling me how he needs me on the floor.

        So I look at the chaos that his scheduling and his lack of proper planning created, looked him in the eye, told him I quit, and walked out the door.

        Shame I had to throw away that 3-cent commission on the big screen TV.
        • by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @03:18PM (#21898914)
          So I look at the chaos that his scheduling and his lack of proper planning created, looked him in the eye, told him I quit, and walked out the door.

          BIG mistake.

          What you should have done is tell him you quit, and then stick around to observe the carnage until asked to leave.
    • Re:Sears is evil. (Score:4, Informative)

      by jcgf ( 688310 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @01:00PM (#21896318)
      I once worked for Sears Canada in their Regina call center. Your dad was not exaggerating.
    • by Itninja ( 937614 )
      Wow. Your post has spawned replies with very liberal use of fear quotes. But seriously, "I agree".
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lpangelrob ( 714473 )
      I bought a vacuum from Sears. The thing is, they tend to be the exclusive seller of good to great products, as verified in Consumer Reports.

      Will they push the extended warranty on you at the point of sale? Of course. So does just about everyone in a decently sized store.

      If they didn't care about people as much as most Slashdotters think most corporations don't care about people, they wouldn't bother with the quality products. Of course, this doesn't absolve spying on their customers (time to turn of Javascr
      • Re:Sears is evil. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by thePowerOfGrayskull ( 905905 ) <marc.paradise@gm ... ENom minus berry> on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:53PM (#21898460) Homepage Journal

        Quality products = better reputation = more customers = more profits. Even good customer service equates directly to more customers and more profits. It has nothing to do with caring about customers. I work for a large credit card company, that before it was bought out, had a horrible reputation and customers were leaving in droves. Then the first buyout occurred, and our call center advisors were told all about how they had to start being sympathetic to the customers and make good impressions. And lo! customers started coming back, once the customer service reputation improved.

        While there are some /employees/ in the large corporations who actually care about the customers, the ones making the executive decisions literally care only insofar as it affects the bottom line. If it was more profitable to sell crappy products and give shit service, Sears would be first in line to start doing that.

        • If it was more profitable to sell crappy products and give shit service, Sears would be first in line to start doing that.
          It is more profitable. Why do you think Wal-Mart over took Sears as the world's largest retailer...crappy products at a cheap price.
      • Sears does NOT sell quality products. There are much better places to buy anything you want to buy including vacuum cleaners. I recommend a dedicated vacuum cleaner store.

        Sears screwed me over once on a product I ordered through them at age 19. I haven't been back since. Their products are all shit and their company is a dinosaur.
    • Yet another confirmation here. Parent is being nice if anything.
    • Re:Sears is evil. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pongo000 ( 97357 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:09PM (#21897616)
      I worked for Sears (retail) for about 4 years. I never experienced any of the issues related here, which just goes to show you that there are always both sides of the story.

      In fact, the Sears I worked at (in Houston) went out of their way to accommodate us (most of us high school or college students at the time). The supervisors were, for the most part, reasonable to work with, and nobody put undue demands on us to perform. I wasn't commissioned sales, but I probably knew everybody in the store, and I don't recall anybody relating horror stories like those mentioned already.

      I'm not saying the stories related here didn't happen...but let's be fair: Mod up four or five "negative" stories without counterbalance?

      Oh, wait, this is /. What am I thinking...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheDarkener ( 198348 )
        Glad to see your response. You're right, there are always two sides to a story, and your post proves it.

        Just so happens that you're the only one who's counter-balanced so far. That would lead me to believe that there are many more negative stories about Sears than not...until other people decide to speak up, of course.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by phantomlord ( 38815 )
          Back when I was a teenager, I went through management training for a chain restaurant with an Irish name.

          One of the first things we learned is (a series of studies they did said) people are 10x more likely to be vocal about a negative experience than a positive one. I would imagine that's just as true on the employee perspective as it is the customer's side. People usually don't talk about how their boss pretty much met their expectations, just like they don't go around bragging that the toaster they got
          • Well, then I specifically challenge all those who have had great experiences with Sears to come forth and vocalize them. It's up to them to prove the point of Sears being an ethical corporation, rather than a spyware-installing, customer-jipping, employee-thrashing blob of firey yellow snot.

            1 2 3 POST!
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by plover ( 150551 ) *
              I've bought six Kenmore appliances from Sears over the past couple of years. No problems, and apart from one overly aggressive salesman, no hassles. And when the refrigerator they delivered didn't fit our space (the left door wouldn't open in the recessed spot in which we had placed it) they politely and quickly exchanged it for a single-door model, giving us full credit for the exchange. Their delivery and installation crews showed up when they said they would. And the appliances work as advertised.


        • by HiThere ( 15173 )
          I suspect that Sears may be close to a franchise, with different managers given a relatively free hand in setting policy. The local Sears used to be pretty good, but a few years ago it underwent a severe change (can't say whether quickly or not...I didn't shop there that often). Now...

          Now the employees look unhappy. The selection of goods is abysmal. The service is terrible. And I haven't gone back there in quite awhile. I shop, occasionally, at one 50 miles further away (which gives me a choice of tw
      • by Hatta ( 162192 )
        I'm not saying the stories related here didn't happen...but let's be fair: Mod up four or five "negative" stories without counterbalance?

        People tend to mod up posts that confirm their personal experiences. The fact that 5 negative stories got modded up and only one positive story(yours) did should tell you something.
    • Every person I have know who worked in sales has the same story.

      A good friend paid for his college degree as a Frito Lay sales guy. He could leave a store so full of chips that the roof was being pushed off, and the managers back at base will still shout "Sell more to them! MORE!" The MBAs simply can't comprehend that markets involve finite numbers. There's only so many damned potato chips eaten in a given neighborhood on a given day.

      Funny anecdote: he restocked, by far, the most chips every month right aft
      • by bynary ( 827120 )
        I was working at a now defunct, Mexican-owned computer store the week of and following 9/11. We had a staff meeting the following Monday where the manager berated the sales people for numbers being down. He was so detached from reality that he couldn't comprehend why no one was buying a new computer in the week following a major national catastrophe. All he saw was low numbers.

        "If no one's shopping, no one's buying."

  • by JohnAllison ( 838880 ) <johnallison@gmai l . c om> on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:43PM (#21896018)
    Granted, I fall into the crowd of Spy Ware is evil, but I really want to know what Sears's plan was for the data they were monitoring.

    I would love to meet the decision maker that believes this is morally permissive act that can be "contracted" through an EULA.

    • by viking099 ( 70446 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:56PM (#21896262)
      Sears and Kmart are suffering heavily from their competitors like Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, and Lowes. They need to find new revenue streams, and this is probably some marketing tech-savvy manager's way of doing that.

      They link up with a spyware company, get people to sign up for a community or whatever, then rake in the user data that is generated from their browsing. There may or may not be any specific danger to an individual user, and most of the gathered data is probably used in an aggregate sense, but the problem lies in the fact that no one knows what's there, how it's gathered, coded, or stored, and how secure it is.

      I wonder if a SHC Community member has their identity stolen because of weak software programming on the spyware company if that company can be held liable, or if there's a clause in there that absolves them of any real responsibility regarding the security of the data being collected.
    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:59PM (#21896304) Homepage

      I would love to meet the decision maker that believes this is morally permissive act that can be "contracted" through an EULA.

      Surely, you're kidding right?

      Large companies operate on what is legally permissible. If current case law says you can legally put any bullshit into an EULA and have it be valid, that's the bar.

      They don't give a flying crap about morally OK -- it's irrelevant.

      Companies are impersonal entities, managed by people with a profit motive to maximize their bonuses by doing what they can do to maximize shareholder value in the short term. Morality doesn't apply if the lawyers tell them it was legal.

      • by radish ( 98371 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:04PM (#21897544) Homepage
        That's actually not universally true. I've sat in a lot of meetings with very senior, very well paid people (and their associated lawyers) and have heard them literally say "we wouldn't be breaking the law, but it wouldn't look good in the press". Many companies value their image and reputation extremely highly and doing something which leads to the company being embarassed, even if it's 100% legal, would be a firing offence.
        • That's actually not universally true. I've sat in a lot of meetings with very senior, very well paid people (and their associated lawyers) and have heard them literally say "we wouldn't be breaking the law, but it wouldn't look good in the press".

          I'm glad to hear there are some left. I just fear they're in the minority, and dwindling.

          Of course, that is something I'd love to be wrong about. :-P

        • by Hatta ( 162192 )
          That's just further proof that money is important above all else to corporations. They wouldn't care about being embarrassed if it didn't cost them any money.
  • Screwed Up (Score:2, Insightful)

    by coop247 ( 974899 )
    In my opinion this is worse than the "communities" some e-com sites have you join that secretly charge your card $2 a month, at least that you see on your CC statement. Also, does it put anything visible in your Programs folder or does this program show up in Add/Remove Programs?
  • by Bryansix ( 761547 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:45PM (#21896042) Homepage
    Not only will we track where you browse on our website which has legitimate marketing value for us; we will also break into your computer without your knowledge and track every other website you visit. You are not safe within your own home.... muahahahah.... I mean we do this to PROTECT your privacy. We will not give out this information unless we get your consent or we get a good enough offer for the data. Anything over one cent per one thousand records consitutes a good offer. We do not disclose offers for data purchase so pretty much you have to assume we are giving your browsing habit data away. We also do this to PROTECT your privacy. Thank you for choosing Sears.
  • by charlesbakerharris ( 623282 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:46PM (#21896068)
    This is the least expensive install Sears has ever done for me!
    • No, it wasn't. It will just cost you more later, when they have your bank account number, routing number, username, and password, and they happen to accidentally hire Joe Schmoe Just Out of Jail who doesn't give a fuck about his job or anything else, and he drains your account.

      Is that going too far?
  • Cue Sony Parallels (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WizMaster ( 974384 )

    What does SEARS need with this info? Honestly, this just smells bad. I won't call them evil just yet but this is pretty serious from a privacy POV.

    Also, isn't it about time we push for a law that makes these privacy agreements shorter and in english (not legalese). One thing I like about CC is that they have a layman's terms version of all their licenses as well as the legalese ones. Not only would people be more likely to read them but it makes it hard for companies to bury important info several pages d

    • What we need is Plain English legislation, generally. If a law, contract, or other legal document cannot be understood by a person of average intelligence and reasonable education, it is null and void.

      Yeah, I know the lawyers would hate it. Tough.


    • The problem is there is no law even requiring a privacy policy that I know of. Companies can put whatever they want there. The reason CC companies are regilated with tier disclosures is because money is changing hands. Here it is just information that Sears is taking from you. Hmmm, maybe we can sue them under the DMCA?
      • Oddly enough, I'd never thought about it this way.

        If someone were to create a program whose sole purpose was to protect both registry information, browser history and private information as a collected and copyrightable work(see Feist Publications vs. Rural Telephone Service), the DMCA would apply to companies who make any attempt to circumvent such a program.

        This would create great liability for nefarious companies who exist only for the purposes of collecting information for resale, as well as for other c
    • But does the legalese really apply reasonable to those user licensing agreements that say that the site owns your content "throughout the universe". Does the copyright registration apply at the time a signal from earth could arrive at (say) the Small Magellanic Cloud? Or do they (as lawyers) think it applies from "now"? Talk about copyright for a "limited time"!

      Not only confusing legaleze, but physics.

  • by tbg58 ( 942837 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:52PM (#21896182)

    This is a fairly obvious example of what has happened to the concept of "the customer" in the retail space. The old principle of serving the customer still applies, but the identification of the customer has changed. The customers of K-Mart Sears are no longer the people buying products in stores and use the Sears website; the new customer is the stockholder. The people who buy products and use the website are just commodities to be traded like anything else.

    Installing spyware on website users? Why not, if the website users are just inventory to be controlled and traded.

    This is true not only in retail, but in IT. Do you think the people who actually buy, say, operating systems, are the customers of the software companies that make them? Think again. Their customers are their stockholders too. The purchaser is just a commodity. Maybe companies which commoditize consumers need a wake-up call to remind them that consumers are still the real customers. A PR mess like this sends a bit of a reminder, but the only message that really hits home is one that impacts the EPS.

    • by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:55PM (#21896240)
      The customers of K-Mart Sears are no longer the people buying products in stores and use the Sears website; the new customer is the stockholder.

      This is true of any publicly traded company. How or what that company does to produce max profits for its shareholders is a different matter...
      • I'd like to see how Sears will produce profits if everyone quits buying their products. As President Truman said, "The buck stops here". Different "buck", but you get the idea.
    • They "serve" customers, alright. As in, "To Serve Man".

    • by GreyWolf3000 ( 468618 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:01PM (#21897494) Journal

      You're like...completely right (in my opinion).

      To expand on the economic side a bit, the stock holders own shares of publicly traded companies because they believe those companies will earn profit and grow in the future. Investment is a beautiful but risky thing. A company that no longer maintains the ability to expand and sell more widgets/services will not realize the growth needed to bring a return on the investments. That means a company like Sears always needs to expand and sell more and more stuff in order to compensate for the "interest" that must be paid out to the investors. Basically, investors will pull out if a company can't realize a certain growth in share value, so the company must grow. Hence, it is reasonable for the company to try and push spyware on to products they sell, because it opens them up to a new customer base--advertising companies willing to pay to gain access to marketing information people's computers. Companies who's cash is 'borrowed' from investors will always face this problem. They can't afford not to grow.

      Do I lay blame to these "evil" companies for trying to screw over the consumer? Some of it is their fault, but I tend to also (read: not entirely) lay blame the consumer for making spam, spyware, rootkits, etc. profitable. Just as companies have an ethical code we more or less hold them to, consumers also must take responsibility and understand that their choices also effect change in the marketplace.

      I really like supporting companies like Google and Whole Foods whose management teams profess to see value in giving back to the community. I also respect individuals who understand that the only way large, evil companies can seem to rule the world is if the majority of a society tolerate them. And if the majority of the society is not willing to tolerate these companies, then they won't buy the crapware filled computers, and no laws are needed. If the majority of the society is willing to tolerate these companies, than "Democracy" has failed.

      Basically, I find that a society that needs huge amounts of laws above and beyond basic things like anti-trust in order to keep corporations in check will end up having a bunch of citizens who can't make responsible decisions for themselves. That means that such a society cannot support a democracy. Scary thought to me.

    • wow. At the risk of being redundant, off-topic and overrated, I should say that I have never seen more insightful comment on modern economy at /.

      Good job.
  • by Zordak ( 123132 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:55PM (#21896244) Homepage Journal
    Wow! I'm so FLAMING HOT MAD about this, that I would boycott Sears if not for the fact that I never shop there anyway. Are you with me people?! MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD! Punish Sears by refusing to purchase from them the things you already don't purchase from them!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      If you're buying screwdrivers and wrenches and pliers anywhere else, then you're going to the wrong place. You can take a 25 year-old pair of (Craftsman) pliers back to Sears and go "I broke it" and they'll give you a new one.
      • by RandoX ( 828285 )
        What if you go in and say "I lost it"?
        • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
          They will say that you better go look for it.
          It is a warranty not insurance.
          Craftsmen hand tools are top of the line and they stand behind them. You don't need any ID or proof of purchase. Just bring in a broken craftsman tool and they will replace it.
          • by sconeu ( 64226 )
            Except drill bits (and other items which may be expected to break due to normal wear and tear).

            They wouldn't replace the broken 1/8 bit from my Craftsman SpeedLok set/
      • by Zordak ( 123132 )
        I believe you can do the same with a Snap-On tool.

  • They've been slowly going out of business for years as their clueless
    management phases out of retail products and services and whiles away
    its days with speculative []
    investments. Now, maybe they're going into the spyware
    or pop-up advertising business to cash in on the dot com
    boom. Sears is the poster boy for the pointy-hair boss in

  • by DodgeRules ( 854165 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:57PM (#21896266)
    ... that all company officers and directors MUST have installed on every work and home computer the same software that they are installing on everyone else's computers. I'll bet money that none of them have installed this onto their own computers.
    • If you're talking of most company directors and CEOs then you might find that they will let it be installed on their machines. That is until you explain to them, in very simple words, what this thing they off-handedly agreed to actually is.

      Somehow I doubt most CEOs know the technical details of the crap they install on machines. They probably just get told "the user agrees to a license, we install this program and then company X gives us a couple of dollars per computer over Y computers".
  • Tell (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:59PM (#21896306) Homepage

    StopBadware [] should hear about this. It's exactly the sort of thing that gets a company a big red X on the StopBadware site. Plus some really bad publicity.

    StopBadware is sponsored by Harvard Law School, Oxford University, and Consumers' Union. There's heavy legal firepower available if needed.

  • promote full disclosure, and support those who spot these abuses and expose them.

    When the corporations decide that getting caught doing dumb/unethical/improper stuff costs them more than whatever the stuff was going to get them, then this will stop.

    Until then, one more corporation to put on my do-not-shop list. For a very long time...
  • We know about that now! And we'll boycott Sears into bankrupcy!

    Well, we won't shop there anymore, maybe. But bankrupcy? Hardly. How many people know about that? A hundreth of a percent? Maybe? How many care about it? Even less?

    "So Sears tracks my online surfing? So what? I got nothing to hide, and their stuff is so CHEAP!"

    That's what you'll hear as the reply of Joe Average. People have not discovered yet that their privacy actually does have some value. Unfortunately, corporations have. Not only a value, th
  • by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @01:21PM (#21896686) Homepage Journal
    There's a telling fact in the "2nd Response to Rob Harles, VP of Sears' SHC Community []"

    Finally, while we can't draw any conclusions from this, an old comScore press release [] shows that before becoming VP in charge of Sears' tracking program, Rob [Harles] was the senior vice president for comScore - the creator of the Sears spyware and the registrants of the domains to which the Sears spyware data is sent.

    CA's Benjamin Googins is being diplomatic, of course. If the guy in charge of the "community" was previously a senior VP at the spyware company, then he clearly has a vested interest in the continued success of comScore.

    If this were happening in a government agency, there would rightly be cries of conflict of interest. So much for the "perfection" of the free market over the ebil gubbermint...

    FWIW, I haven't stepped foot in a Sears in about 5 years, when I needed a spark plug socket, and I can't recall my last purchase before that. And I've rarely been in a K-Mart since they closed most of their Texas stores -- the ones in other states still suck just as hard as they did before the buyout, but it's hard to compare one strong vacuum against another.
    • by spun ( 1352 )

      So much for the "perfection" of the free market over the ebil gubbermint...

      No, no, no. See, this is because we don't have enough free market, and too much ebil gubbermint. If we just got rid of all gubbermint except that what keeps y'all off my propah-tie, then the Divine Invisible Hand of Adam Smith would descend out of the clouds and put all to rights. Everyone who claims the Hand would just touch us in a bad place are pawns of the Great Satan, Karl Marx!

      Seriously, there are people right here on Slashdot who think that way. You can spot them easily because they all get serious

  • I would ask that all antivirus/anti-malware companies use Sears.ComScore to ID this virus (oops, I mean "service"). Sears will have free advertising in all anti-malware apps just like Sony.Rootkit does!

    Then again, Sears' lawyers may request to have it changed to Sears®.ComScore.
  • Page 10 of a 54 page document? Sears must be Douglas Adams fans!

    This reminds me of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where it was pointed out that the public plans for the hyperspace bypass were to be found in the bottom drawer of a locked filing cabinet, stuck upside-down, in a disused toilet with a sign on the door saying 'BEWARE OF THE LEOPARD!'
    • by sconeu ( 64226 )
      Please turn in your geek card now.

      Those weren't the plans for the hyperspace bypass, they were the plans for the bypass being built in England by the local board, of which Mr. Prosser was the representative.

      The plans for the Hyperspace bypass were on display at Alpha Centuri.
      • Man, just as I was taking a break from coding an accts-receivable system while listening to the H2G2 audiobook...

        Damn, diet coke in the sinuses *hurts*
  • Wow. From one of the comments in reply of TFA:

    OMG! Check out a sears site Once you register you can look up purchase information for ANYONE by just putting in their name address and phone number. Sears has you enter a code and says that keeps you info safe, but that is pretty useless -- I think that just prevents a script from being created, but DOES NOT stop people from entering in any eles info to get the purchase info on big ticket items -- this could bring casing someone's house to a whole new level!!

    What's that smell in the air? Oh yeah, a class action lawsuit.

  • Say, where's the Linux installer? What? You mean this is only for windows users? Sweet!
  • From TFA: 'we make commercially viable efforts to automatically filter confidential personally identifiable information such as UserID, password, credit card numbers, and account numbers'

    Let me fix that: "we do as little as possible..."

  • by wytcld ( 179112 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:15PM (#21897748) Homepage
    First off, Sears isn't Sears anymore. Sears was bought by Kmart after Kmart was bought by what became Sears Holdings [], which is controlled by hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert [], who apparently is incompetent:

    In the period ended November 3, the company earned a sickening $2 million (1 cent per share). That's far below the $196 million ($1.27 per share) it earned in the same period last year. It's also 49 cents below what analysts had been expecting.
    That's right, under his management profits went down over 99%. I've been to his stores, and the merchandising is awful. There's certain stuff I'd rather buy from Sears and/or Kmart than Wal-Mart, Home Depot or whoever, but the stocking and selection is so haphazard now that, except for the Sears appliances, the only thing you can count on finding is bizarre junk on sale.

    And now with this story, maybe it's time to stop even trying. (I had a minor loyalty to Kmart because I'm originally from their part of the country; and to Sears because the Craftsman guarantee policy is good.)
    • by bwcbwc ( 601780 )
      Actually, the other way around. K-Mart was going into bankruptcy (and may actually have filed for reorg, I forget) and Sears bought them up. The holding company bit is correct.
  • What the hell is Sears thinking? Didn't they learning anything from Sony's rootkit fiasco? This is a complete outrage. Look at the type of people who normally shop at sears. It's demographic is older women who I would guess are not normally tech-savvy or aware of online security issues. This stinks like rotten fish and I hope the word gets out. Bad Sears, BAD!
  • I'll vote for the first presidential candidate who specifically cites this as behavior that should result in dissolution of Sears Holdings - the loss of its status as a corporate "person" and the sale of its assets to fund future government enforcement against such blatant abuses of basic American and human rights by other corporations. Perhaps current laws won't allow justice in this case, but it wouldn't take long to change that. This is behavior that clearly calls for (1) jail time for the top executives
    • by taustin ( 171655 )
      Yeah, and the 300,000+ employees should all be jailed, too, because "I was just following orders" isn't an excuse.

      Or maybe you're a knee-jerk reactionary. Or maybe just a moron.
  • A properly configured router and a proxy server are all anyone needs for this.

    Why bother installing spyware to track web usage if you control the network?
  • ...of that eclectic and somewhat, ahem, "unruly" segment of the on-line community that uses phrases like, "Big Fucks Fly Out To..." I would dearly love to see the internet cleansed of Sears' presence the same way you'd fumigate your house to get rid of cockroaches, bedbugs or other loathsome and potentially dangerous pests.
  • 'nuff said. Talk about capitalism gone bad! I hope they get the crap sued out of them over this.

egrep -n '^[a-z].*\(' $ | sort -t':' +2.0