In 2007 and 2008, Sears invited select customers to join the exclusive “My SHC Community,” which involved installing an app that would monitor online browsing in exchange for $10. The app was called spyware by researchers and the FTC, because the data it collected on customers included “details from their online shopping, bank statements, drug-prescription records, video rentals, library-borrowing histories, even the names and addresses of their e-mail correspondents,” as well as “data about the users’ computers, printers, and other devices.”
The FTC charged that Sears had misled consumers about the degree to which it was collecting data. Sears argued that the devil was in the details of the lengthy user agreement, but has agreed that if it does it again, it will “clearly and prominently” disclose the full breadth of any data collection attempts. All the data has been destroyed.
As usual in settlements like this, Sears officially admits no wrongdoing.
“Sears agrees to settle spyware charges” [Philadelphia Inquirer]
“Researchers Accuse Sears Of Distributing Spyware”