Sears.com: Join Our Community… So We Can Spy On Your Every Online Move

from the ouch dept

Rich Kulawiec writes in to let us know that Sears.com and Kmart.com (owned by Sears) have been inviting visitors to those sites to “join our community.” However, rather than joining any actual community, what you appear to be doing is installing spyware that reports on your every move online. It’s actually a trick to get you to install Comscore’s tracking app. Comscore has been accused in the past of distributing spyware surreptitiously, which the company vehemently denies — but it’s hard to see how this is above board. It’s certainly worse than Facebook’s Beacon fiasco. What happens is that you are asked if you want to “join the community,” and then, without clearly explaining what the software does, Comscore’s tracking software is installed. After that, all of your online activities — including to “secure” sites like banking sites — is sent directly to Comscore, despite Sears’ website insisting that none of the data you share will go to anyone but Sears. As for the “community,” it doesn’t seem like there is one. The security researcher who signed up for the community says that once the software is installed, there’s no obvious indicator that it’s installed or running — and he received no “communications” from the so-called community whatsoever. Basically, it sounds like it’s just a trick to get you to install this tracking software while hoping you’ll forget about it.

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Companies: sears

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Comments on “Sears.com: Join Our Community… So We Can Spy On Your Every Online Move”

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20 Comments
TX CHL Instructor (profile) says:

Haven't bought from Sears in over 20 years

The thing that did it for me was having a roof installed by a “authorized” Sears contractor. If I had wanted a roof installed by a bunch of half-drunk illegal aliens (who littered my yard with beer cans), that had no meaningful warranty, and leaked every time it rained, I could have gotten that from somebody else at less than half the cost of a Sears roof.

I was flabbergasted to learn that a “warranty” that covered “materials and labor” did not actually cover LEAKS! Like just WTF is a roof supposed to DO, anyway? It cost me another $500 (to a different contractor) to fix their defective installation.

Prior to that time, I had actually bought most of my clothes, a large part of my household appliances, and all of my tools there. Those bastards will never get another dime out of me. If Sears is the ONLY place that sells a given item, I will do without.

I sure as Hell won’t be subscribing to their malware. I’m not at all surprised that their “community” is infested with that sort of crap.

Darrell Young (user link) says:

Spyware and Doubleclick

In 2000, I worked for then, Worldcom on the internet side for a product they were calling DSTREET.COM. Dstreet was digital street. Customers were going to be companies with less than 100 employees. Worldcom was going to provide all manner of technical stuff to its customers through this web portal.

I worked for Vendor management who were responsible for ensuring the software vendors that built this product for Worldcom did it right. I was given the task of directing the development vendor to install “web tags” which Doubleclick needed to track site movement. In my research, I learned that these web tags were really web bugs or things known as clear-dot gif’s. Their purpose in life is to report to the mother ship (Doubleclick) what parts of the page were developing and what things customers were looking at.

I told management about this and they said do it anyway. I told them that our technically savvy customers would react negatively to the fact that we were spying on them yet our own privacy policy stated we would be providing no one any information about the customers surfing habits.

I reported this on a conference call with about 200 people on board and was subsequently told by management to shut my dinosaur (COBOL) mouth and do what I was told. Soon, I was gone. Soon after that, Worldcom folded due to pressure from the Government over their overstated incomes. Subsequently, Worldcom overcame Enron as the poster child for Sarbanes-Oxley legislation that many of you are familiar with.

I’ve been fighting (and removing) spyware ever since.

Seriously-Cameapart (Sears/Kmart) are simply doing what most Americans allow whenever they click on the swinging monkey or play golf or any of the other play-games-for-free on the internet schmemes.

As soon as Americans take resonsibility for their web surfing habits and stop thinking the web is like their car (only need the brakes and the gas pedal), they will be better off.

policyreader says:

The policy

This is from the privacy. I wonder if anyone would sign up if they actually read this:
********
Internet usage information: Once you install our application, it monitors all of the Internet behavior that occurs on the computer on which you install the application, including both your normal web browsing and the activity that you undertake during secure sessions, such as filling a shopping basket, completing an application form or checking your online accounts, which may include personal financial or health information. We may use the information that we monitor, such as name and address, for the purpose of better understanding your household demographics; however we make commercially viable efforts to automatically filter confidential personally identifiable information such as UserID, password, credit card numbers, and account numbers. Inadvertently, we may collect such information about our panelists; and when this happens, we make commercially viable efforts to purge our database of such information.
********

Janet C. Squires says:

Sears

When I was a little girl- sears was a family friendly store. Yesterday, I purchased a mattress and box spring, being they were on sale. I found you could not pay more on your purchase (if it was put on layaway) other than what they decide. If you miss a payment by one day you will lose your order. I no longer drive -therefore sometimes it is impossible for me to get there exactly when they want. I was paying it off in a couple of payments anyway (even if they would not accept more) Plus, they will not let you pick up your order so they charge you

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