Via Zero Hedge, covered in several other places:
Lenovo Group, the largest computer manufacturer in the world, has made a rather stunning admission that they have been pre-installing tracking software on their PCs.
The tracking software is made by a company called Superfish, which apparently paid some “very minor compensation” to Lenovo for putting the software on people’s computers.
The Superfish program is a total disaster.
It has image recognition algorithms which essentially monitor what a user is looking at… then suggests relevant ads based on what it thinks you might like.
This is not only REALLY high up on the creepy scale, it also completely destroys Internet security.
… the tracking software basically fools a web browser into believing that a connection is secure when it’s not… all for the purpose of pushing more ads in your face.
This scheme is so powerful that even if users uninstall the Superfish software, the security breach still remains.
This is so flagrant I have to imagine that even the NSA is shocked.
After its initial approach of being completely unapologetic and dismissal, Lenovo is now groveling for forgiveness.
Sadly, I think there’s reason to doubt that it’s only about ads.
Yes, Lenovo is majority publicly-held. But it’s also a China-based company. It’s not unreasonable to expect that it would be receptive to “requests” for “cooperation” from the Chinese government run by the Peoples Army to engage in security-related mischief that goes well beyond ad placement.
One clue that there may be a lot more to this than meets the eye is the defiant “initial approach” noted in the final excerpted paragraph.