Seven companies have been charged by the Federal Trade Commission in the United States after investigators found that they were taking advantage of a software installed in rented computers to secretly capture people having sex.
Federal Trade Commission officials claimed the companies used software made by Designerware to photograph the
It is believed that PC Rental Agent has been installed in approximately 420,000 computers worldwide.
The FTC said a feature in the software, called Detective Mode, which would typically become activated if the user
was late in returning equipment, or failed to pay for use, had captured "couples engaged in sexual activities".
Part of the process involved a pop-up window designed to look like a software registration screen, which would
request personal information such as email addresses and telephone numbers that could then be used to pursue the
users for payment and/or the return of equipment, the report said.
The FTC said the software had gained access to sensitive information, and had collected data such as social security
numbers; medical records; private emails to doctors; bank and credit card statements along with usernames and
passwords for email accounts.
In the FTC's formal complaint document, it said that webcam pictures of children, partially undressed individuals,
and intimate activities at home were also found, the report added.
Designerware could not be reached for comment.