Lenovo can add getting sued over Superfish to the list of damaging headaches that have come from the revelations that the company utilized adware to track ultimately and place ads on Lenovo user’s computers. It was reported on Monday that a lawsuit was filed last week in a federal court over Lenovo and Superfish employing adware to track and ultimately gain information that was not rightfully obtained by either entity. The lawsuit says that Lenovo and Superfish violated wiretap laws and even trespassed on what is classified as personal property.
This all stems from it being revealed last week that Lenovo was using a program called Superfish Visual Discovery, which would track web searches, and even monitor browsing activity to target ads at users who otherwise would not be getting tracked. The move was one that was a surprise to some, but then not an entire surprise to others. Ultimately, this comes back to the fact that Lenovo, who was gaining a lot of success and notoriety over their PCs, is being hit with something that turned into a complete public relations disaster.
This lawsuit comes, unsurprisingly due to the fact that consumers are incredibly sensitive to the fact now that tech companies and software companies are doing more, and more to track their users due to the massive profits that have been realized by companies like Facebook and Google for their advertising platforms. Advertising on the Internet has become one of the biggest profit drivers going, and ultimately this is just another example of profit-driving being put ahead of common sense.
However, if it isn’t enough that the company will be damaged by a hurt reputation and a decline in sales after this scandal – the legal ramifications could actually cause more financial hardship for the company than anything else had to this point. Users were figuring out slowly that Superfish was on their PCs, but it was noted that a lot of complaints coming in 2014 ultimately caused Lenovo to deactivate Superfish, and then offer solutions to removing it entirely. That though, seemed too little, too late as the company already had incurred a serious amount of reputation damage.