Submission Number: 00045
Received: 10/4/2012 3:18:47 AM
Commenter: Martin Emory
Agency: Federal Trade Commission
Initiative: Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of DesignerWare, LLC; FTC File No. 1123151
Attachments: No Attachments
I was renting a computer from Buddy’s in Tampa FL when I heard about this spying software in RTO. Since I’m going to college for computers it got my interest. So, I called them and they said they don’t use that product, but install something else. I guess it’s a competing product.
So, I did some search. It seems http://www.app-protects.com is the product they use and it installs and monitors me all the time. I checked on my computer and sure enough it is there. All installed and all parts working. I started asking around and it appears this product is from China and they claim to be the leaders in RTO. After doing some more digging, I discover the product is really what you are writing about. It really spies on everything I do.
So, I called Designware and spoke with them and they claim their product was designed specifically for rental and that none of the software the FTC is talking about is loaded on the computer. They claim only the kill switch is ever installed and the contractually hold the rental store to remove it when they transfer ownership. They told me that they use a proprietary method to install tracking only after a computer is stolen. But, it really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that they probably download via the Internet. But the key here is it isn’t installed physically.
I asked if they ever heard of the product Buddy’s uses in FL. The tech tells me they’re familiar with it because it’s one of their competitors. They address several issues and concerns with that product but didn’t go much into detail. When I asked them about market share, all they could say was that they have no idea if the other product was the leaders or not in the industry. I asked them if the other product had FTC issues and they said as far as they knew, none at all. He also commented that they knew that the other products sales reps were telling customers that their product was legal and Rental Agent was not.
So, here’s my questions:
1. Are you sure you investigated the correct company because it doesn’t appear that what you are claiming can be done in the Rental Agent product whereas it can be in the product Buddy’s uses?
2. How can one product be legal while the other cannot be?
3. Lastly as a student of computers, I don’t think you want to regulate a manufacturer of software. It would be like holding Microsoft responsible because someone used Windows to commit a crime.