|September 5, 2017
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi and 31 other attorneys general today announced a $3.5 million settlement with technology company Lenovo, Inc. The settlement resolves allegations that the company violated state consumer protection laws by pre-installing software with security vulnerabilities on laptop computers sold to Florida consumers. In coordination with the Federal Trade Commission, the attorneys general negotiated and finalized the settlement.
In August 2014, North Carolina-based Lenovo began selling certain laptop computers containing pre-installed ad software called VisualDiscovery, created by the company Superfish, Inc. VisualDiscovery purportedly operated as a shopping assistant by delivering pop-up ads to consumers of similar looking products sold by Superfish retail partners. VisualDiscovery allegedly acted as a local proxy between the consumer's browser and all Internet websites the user visited, including encrypted sites, creating a security vulnerability.
Lenovo violated state consumer protection laws by failing to disclose the presence of VisualDiscovery on its computers, failing to warn consumers that the software created a security vulnerability and having an inadequate opt-out procedure.
In addition to the monetary payment, the settlement requires Lenovo to follow the below terms:
- · Change its consumer disclosures about pre-installed advertising software;
· Require a consumer's affirmative consent to using the software on their device;
· Provide a reasonable and effective means for consumers to opt-out, disable or remove the software; and
· Implement and maintain a software security compliance program.
Lenovo is also required to obtain initial and biennial assessments for the next 20 years from a qualified, independent, third-party professional that certifies the effectiveness and compliance with the security compliance program.
The settlement is pending judicial approval.
To view a copy of the settlement, click here.