Hewlett Packard (HP) is discretely installing a form of spyware known as telemetry bloatware without the consent of the owner of the desktop machine or PC subject to the installation.
The revelations come after users from different forums such as the HP customer forum and Reddit complained that the incident is taking place without certain permissions that would be necessary for the case.
The application is a Windows telemetry service, which is dubbed HP Touchpoint Analytics Client. The app is very discrete in its operation, running in the background.
Therefore, it becomes difficult for the user to detect. The software secretly collects data in the machine and sends it to remote access points controlled by HP.
Not much information is available as to what exactly has transpired, but some reports indicate that HP did not deliberately facilitate the installation of the software and it has been removed in the most recent software update.
But how the driver found itself the devices is through a software update carried out by either Windows or the HP support assistant.
In one of the Reddit forums, a user complained that the telemetry service application was making their PC relatively slow to the extent that the PC is having troubles operating.
This came after checking on the Windows task manager only to discover that the HP Touchpoint Analytics Software was consuming too much RAM storage, which has the effect of slowing down the computer.
Of course, it is not pleasing to have a software program take over your device as it brings about more complications in the process. Another user in the HP forum mentions that the device began producing some cranking sounds in the process.
The same user mentioned that apart from that, the application outmaneuvers other software operating within the machine by either stopping them or restarting the closed programs as witnessed in the task manager.
To the average user, this is not anything desirable. As much as one can continue using their machine to undertake various tasks while the HP Touchpoint Analytics client is functioning, it may bring inconvenience to some extent.
There are other various instances of users complaining, and for those who own HP computers, the information is available under the C:\ProgramData\HP\HP Touchpoint Analytics Client.
From the available logs, a bit of analysis indicates that the data collected by the unwanted software gathers and sends data to the remote server under the control of HP once per day.
In response, HP claims that what is witnessed has been happening since 2014.
The utility software is meant to form part of the HP support assistant which collects information about the functioning of the device, especially the performance of the hardware.
HP further stated that the only way they can access this information is with permission from the owner. This only happens when the owner runs a diagnosis on the machine and further chooses to share this information with HP or when calling customer support.
Then, they will be able to access the data collected by the support software.
The logs, if collected by HP, are meant to be used by the company to tell the types of issues users are encountering.
This informs the development of HP’s software updates that they send to clients, which in turn helps get rid of the issue causing the device to malfunction from time to time.
The presence of the program in HP devices extends to both individual devices and larger businesses. By sharing the data collected by the assistant, then a large entity can determine how efficient the company is doing.
One ought to know that the data, once collected, is sent anonymously in the sense that the personal details of the owner are not sent with the package.
For those who are affected and wish to get rid of the software, then the options available are disabling the software or uninstalling it. Of course, it depends on the preference of an individual. Some may choose to have it operating.
But if you’d like to uninstall the program, you can simply follow some basic steps to do so. Use the control panel icon and then proceed to uninstall the software.
It is from this section that one will choose the name of the software to remove and, in this case, it happens to be the HP TouchPoint Analytics Client.
Following the incident, there is the possibility of the affected users litigating the matter as was the case with Lenovo a while back. Lenovo came under criticism and was sued since it installed an adware on its laptops without the consent of the owner of the device.
As a result, Lenovo was ordered to pay a $3.5 million fine. Despite this, Lenovo still denied any wrongdoing.
Similarly, this recent telemetry service incident with Hewlett Packard is not the first time that the company is hitting the headlines due to the same reasons involving spyware.
Sometime back, HP audio drivers had a built-in keylogger that could spy on all keystrokes entered.
Keyloggers come in different types and work by collecting all data entered into a keyboard and sending that data to a third party.
With this in mind, it is important to note that keyloggers can have both legal and illegal uses.
In short, legitimate purposes is when the person who is installing it on a particular device is doing so with the consent of the owner and if not, then the keylogger program is being used illegally.