Lenovo Hit With lawsuit Over PCs' Preloaded With Spyware

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Lenovo Hit With lawsuit Over PCs' Preloaded With Spyware

 news 2015-02-24 at 11:02:53 am Views: 364
  • #42025

    Lenovo Hit With lawsuit Over PCs' Preloaded With Spyware

    By Y. Peter Kang

    Law360, Los Angeles (February 20, 2015, 6:45 PM ET) — A Lenovo Group Ltd. unit was slapped with a putative class action in California federal court on Thursday claiming the company installed malicious software on computers it sold that allows remote monitoring of Internet activity in violation of state and federal privacy laws.
    Plaintiff Jessica N. Bennett accuses Lenovo of pre-installing “spyware” software made by Superfish Inc., also named as a defendant in the class action, in new computers which resulted in computer slowdowns, increased bandwidth and memory usage, annoying pop-ups and interception of personal information.

    “Defendants’ installation of Superfish on plaintiff’s computer and the interception of confidential information violated several federal and state laws concerning computer privacy,” the complaint states. “The spyware tracked plaintiff's Internet use, invaded her privacy, and damaged her computer.”

    Bennett, who bought a Lenovo Yoga 2 laptop for her business as a blog writer in late 2014, began noticing racy pop-up ads appearing on various websites, according to the complaint. She concluded that her computer was infected with spyware after reading about similar issues posted by other customers on Lenovo’s web forum.

    The complaint also cites a handful of recent news reports about the alleged malicious software’s security vulnerabilities.
    After receiving a number of complaints, Lenovo issued a statement on its website Thursday saying the company had stopped pre-installing Superfish in January and gave users instructions on how they could remove it.

    “We acted swiftly and decisively once these concerns began to be raised,” Lenovo said in the statement. “We apologize for causing any concern to any users for any reason — and we are always trying to learn from experience and improve what we do and how we do it.”

    Bennett is suing Lenovo for violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California’s Invasion of Privacy Act and Unfair Competition Law and seeks unspecified damages. She is asking for certification of a nation- and state-wide class of buyers who bought computers with the Superfish program preinstalled on it from January 2012 to the present.

    A Lenovo spokesman told Law360 on Friday that the company does not comment on legal matters.

    A representative for Bennett did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

    Bennett is represented by Alexander M. Schack and Natasha A. Naraghi of Law Offices of Alexander M. Schack, Geoffrey J. Spreter of Spreter Legal Services APC and E. Elliot Adler of Adler Law Group APLC.

    Counsel information for Lenovo was not immediately available.

    The case is Jessica N. Bennett v. Lenovo (United States) Inc. et al., case number 3:15-cv-00368, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

    — Editing by Ben Guilfoy.