After George Orwell’s novel, “1984”, was published, the term “Big Brother” became a household name. It is used to refer to any institution or practice that allows companies or organizations to see what people are doing no matter where they are. The term has been applied to everything from traffic light cameras to Google’s practice of tracking consumers’ search histories.
But most disturbing of all is a recent lawsuit against Aaron’s Inc., a rental company, alleging it leased computers that contained spyware. Aaron’s allegedly used the software to take pictures of people in their homes via the computers’ webcams, as well as screenshots taken while the leased computers were in use. According to the lawsuit, even when users thought their computers were turned off, the spyware could turn it on and take photos via the computer’s webcam. The information collected by the rental company in this manner allegedly included highly sensitive emails and pictures, including pictures of nude children and people having sex. Continue reading