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Home » Hacking News » Lexmark denies accusations

Lexmark denies accusations

by Nikola Strahija on November 14th, 2004 After accusations brought on Usenet newsgroups, that Lexmark installs spyware on consumers’ computers, the firm has strongly denied installing any software that sends personal information back to the company, without the user knowing.

Like one user of Lexmark printer, who calls himself Commander, noticed while he was installing a new printer, that a program called Lx_CATS had been added to the program files directory. He determined that it was programmed to collect data on his printing and scanning habits and send it to a domain owned by Lexmark at 30 day intervals.

Furthermore, the spyware embedded itself into the system registry, so average users would probably never know it was there and active.
He adds that Lexmark did not ask his permission to install the program, or to gather this information at any time during the installation. When he called Lexmark to complain, the company originally denied all knowledge of the program.

Lexmark UK has issued a statement in response to the allegations: "Lexmark Connect is a voluntary program that is fully disclosed to all users during the installation process for a new printer. During this process, a registration screen will appear that will allow the user to choose to participate, or not participate in this program. A user MUST review this page and click "continue", or the registration process will not install the program or the printer."

The company also denies collecting personal information. It says Lexmark Connect merely tracks printing habits, such as the number of pages printed, amount of ink used, and how frequently product features are used so that it can "understand our customers printing habits and needs better".
However, there is some debate on the newsgroup over the purity of Lexmark's intentions.

Commander argues that while Lexmark maintains no personal information is gathered, "the program transmits the printer serial number, and when I registered the warranty with Lexmark, they recorded my personal information along with the serial number. How hard is it to match the two?"

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