Submission Number: 00016
Received: 9/28/2012 11:49:33 AM
Commenter: Tim Kelly
Agency: Federal Trade Commission
Initiative: Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of DesignerWare, LLC; FTC File No. 1123151
Attachments: No Attachments
PCRA does NOT allow a consumer to be ‘spied’ on as reported. Licensees have never installed anything other than the F3 Backup/Restore and Lockdown programs. That is all that has ever been installed by the Installer and it is impossible to install anything else at the time of rental.
So then what is it that’s being reported in the media:
PCRA had an additional program called the Detective Mode Program that could ONLY be installed after a computer was reported stolen which allowed the owner to gather information to determine where it was. This was a restricted program and could only be installed after a computer was reported stolen. A rental consumer was NEVER subject to it because it was only installed when the renter claimed the computer was stolen and stated they could not return it to the owner as they agreed to in the rental contract. At this time, and only at this time, the owner of the computer could ask to have an additional program installed called the Detective Mode Program which would gather information to prove whether or not the renter that claimed it was stolen was still using it.
DesignerWare has never had any reports that its license agreement with rental dealers was ever violated and that the Detective Mode Program was ever installed on any computer other than one reported stolen. Instead, all we have ever had is evidence and statements from law enforcement verifying that the Detective Mode Program solved crimes and put criminals in jail. DesignerWare does not, of course, know about how all its licensees used the Detective Mode Program, but it would not make sense for them to use the software for late renters (as reported by the media and the FTC) as it would be completely unnecessary (since the rental store already has all renter information on hand).
Unfortunately, the FTC ruled that a person that claims a rental computer was stolen is still a consumer and should be protected against the owner installing the Detective Mode Program to determine if they are lying. Although we strongly disagree, and it is our position that someone committing a crime is a criminal and the property owner has the right to recover their stolen property; we however have entered into an agreement with the FTC to remove the ability to install the Detective Mode Program on a computer if it is used in a ‘covered rent-to-own transaction’. This is what’s prompted all the news coverage and unfortunately is often sensationalized to sell news stories.