Most of us don't think of the word “untrustworthy” when we think of Lenovo. I would say many of us simply know Lenovo as a computer and tech company. You may not believe it, but Lenovo gets in trouble quite a bit. In fact, here it is, in the spotlight for the third time this year for having some sneaky software spies on its devices. Yep, three separate incidences have gotten the company in trouble. First, there was the Lenovo Superfish scandal, where the company was caught pre-installing ad software in consumer devices. That's pretty bad for a first offense. Soon after that, retail editions of its Windows PCs were spotted with Lenovo Service Engine software. The software, which was supposed to be reserved for custom drivers, was known as “immortal, self-reinstalling crapware”. Basically, it started causing these consumer's machines to bug out.
After these events, you'd think Lenovo would've been super aware of any funky business lurking in its machines. The current scandal involves refurbished IBM Thinkpad devices affected by Lenovo's Customer Feedback Program 64, which has been apparently causing problems. The program, which is meant to send user feedback to Lenovo on a daily basis (it was an auto-run, pop-up style program) has been linked to third-party marketing. This realization came to be after Michael Horowitz of Computer World discovered more hiding inside the Lenovo Customer Feedback Program folder. The program entitled “Lenovo.TVT.CustomerFeedback.Agent.exe” had the following additional files found inside: "Lenovo.TVT.CustomerFeedback.InnovApps.dll, and Lenovo.TVT.CustomerFeedback.OmnitureSiteCatalyst.dll".
Notice the word “Omniture”. That, my friends, is an online marketing and web analytics firm, one whose software was used by Lenovo to gather private information about the individuals using those laptops. After it was found to have been monitoring more than just customer feedback, Lenovo added a note to its support website, stating that all ThinkCentre, ThinkStation, and ThinkPad computers could all contain this application. But the question of “why was it ever found there?” still remains.
It's too bad Lenovo's brand has to submit to such lowest lows (and we can say that after this being its third offense in a 12 month period). As consumers, we're constantly being drilled for more, more, more- more of our money, more of our data, more of our trust. It's scandals like Lenovo's that spark the anticipation we hold onto. But Lenovo was caught, which is the way it should be. The company, in losing a bit of its power in the tech world, is hopefully learning what it means to become untrustworthy to its customers. But, just how long it will take to get that trust back? Only time will tell.
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