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Lawsuit claims computers from Aaron's spied on consumers

ATLANTA — A new lawsuit in two-year-old case charges that spyware installed on computers that customers got from Aaron's rent-to-own stores secretly transmitted 185,000 emails to company servers with sensitive data and images, the Associated Press is reporting.

Aaron's previously denied any of its corporate stores were involved, pointing to franchisees under the Aaron's banner. However, but the new filing claims Aaron's received the data, the report said.

Aaron's had yet to comment but was preparing a statement.

AP said the new allegations filing are part of a class action that grew out of a Federal Trade Commission settlement last year.

Brian and Crystal Byrd of Casper, Wyo., had sued DesignerWare, the alleged maker of the spyware, Aaron's, the local franchise from which they rented a computer in 2010, and some 45 other franchises they believed were using the spyware, the report said.

The couple said in the lawsuit that a laptop computer they rented contained an alleged cyber-snooping component called PC Rental Agent, according to May 2011 report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Attorneys want to file a new complaint, adding 54 franchisees based on 185,000 emails since traced back to Aaron's computer servers, the report said

It also claims Aaron's hasn't properly notified at least 800 customers allegedly targeted by the spyware.

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