Is your computer spying on you? It’s a question not too many people ask though, as owners of Lenovo PCs recently learned, it might be one that we should be asking more often. Lenovo recently agreed to pay a $3.5 million fine for installing pre-installing adware on their hardware without the owners’ consent. It has been reported in Computer World(via Engadget) that HP is installing troublesome software without user permission.
The software in question, HP Touchpoint Analytics Service, is a piece of telemetry software which seems to be a replacement for the old HP Touchpoint Manager. The software’s description says that it gives you “the tools you need to ensure all your managed devices’ security — and brings you greater peace of mind.” Unfortunately, it installs itself and has caused trouble for some PC users.
Over on HP’s official website, one user complained that the problem had gotten so bad that they were afraid to use their computer because they were worried the added workload might cause it to crash. They also noted that a driver had repeatedly failed to install.
“…It’s been making my computer work so hard I can hear it like cranking away and the light in the back of my computer is flashing rapidly in-tune with the cranking,” the user Purplepassion22 wrote. “In Task Manager I can see it starting and stopping numours[sic] applications, it’s client service and installer, console window host, command prompts, timeout-pause command prompt, it’s causing a lot of up and down use of antimalware service executable and local system. I’ve been able to use my computer while it’s doing all of that, but I don’t want to use my computer because I fear all that activity plus me will cause my computer to shut down…”
As of right now, it isn’t really clear how this piece of software was installed. It is possible it came with a recent Windows update or as part of an HP support update. Regardless, it does appear to be installing itself without permission and some users aren’t happy with their data being collected without their consent.
“I found HP Touchpoint Manager unexpectedly deployed on my PC earlier this week (16/11) – obviously without my consent,” wrote krzemien on the HP forums. “I understand that it hoovers all sorts of telemetry data – and I am not willing to share too much of it really, definitely not without my knowledge.”
On the bright side, the software can be removed easily and without too much trouble. However, numerous tech companies, such as OnePlus, have gotten in trouble recently over privacy concerns.