(Yicai Global) Sept. 6 -- Lenovo Group Ltd. [HKG:0992] has settled with the US Federal Trade Commission after pre-installing advertising software on its laptops. The Chinese computer maker will pay USD3.5 million to 32 American states and change its laptop sales model to keep the FTC at bay.
Lenovo installed software called VisualDiscovery on its laptops back in August 2014, which prevented users from visiting malicious sites but also triggered pop-up ads.
The software could also violate users' privacy and obtain such information as social security numbers, the FTC said, though the information wasn't sent to the software's distributor, Superfish.
Lenovo pre-installed software that could access customers' private information without informing users or gaining their permission, thus violating their right to privacy, the trade commission's chairman said in a statement.
The firm stopped installing the software in early 2015, and although it disagrees with the FTC's accusation, it is relieved the case has been settled after two and a half years, Lenovo said. It also said in an email that until now they hadn't realized third parties may be able to take advantage of the software to steal users' information.
Lenovo will seek user consent before installing similar software in the future, the trade commission said.