Fishin’ for Transparency

Lenovo has been baited and caught… and something smells a little fishy.

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It’s Superfish, a software program that was preinstalled onto Lenovo products without users knowledge.

What is it?

Superfish is usually identified as malware or crapware. It is designed to support various types of digital advertising. For example, with the software you can hold your cursor over a product and a new window will pop up giving you purchase options.

What’s the problem?

The software was on Lenovo products without customer consent. They were not transparent about its presence in the devices. Because of the software many machines were compromised making them vulnerable to cyber attacks. When these windows open, hackers can sneak in and steal sensitive information. Both companies are facing a class-action lawsuit.

Why would they do that?

Superfish and similar software strike deals with technology manufacturers, like Lenovo. It’s estimated that Lenovo only made $250,000 from it’s agreement with Superfish. #facepalm

How do you fix that?

Well, Lenovo has issued a public apology and said they will no longer pre-install software without the consumer knowing. The tech company said they were unaware of the ill-effect installing Superfish would have. Most technology gurus are saying they are too trusting of their partners. Lenovo also gave those infected with Superfish free subscription to malware eliminating software.

Issue in mass media?

Yes, actually. Superfish is not the only software that has this capability. Advertisers pay companies to create software that support certain types of advertising, like online ads. And it seems as though they do not care what the consequences are.

This is just one example of how advertising is becoming synonymous with technology.

Not only can you expect webpages to feature ads catered to you, you have technology that is literally made to support and encourage more ads on your devices. And the best part is, you don’t even have to worry about downloading it yourself.

This can only make the public image of advertising worse. About 50 percent of Americans do not trust advertisements. 

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The US Government waved a giant red flag. The Department of Homeland Security said that Superfish was spyware and warned all Lenovo users to get ride of the software immediately. Government action in this case leads to government involvement in other situations where advertisers are sneaking into technology.

Like Lenovo, advertisers need to be transparent about their practices in order to regain consumer trust.

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