Did HP really install spyware on PCs?

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According to a report from Engadget, HP might have deployed spyware onto the PCs of consumers without their permission. The issue at heart is with the “HP Touchpoint Analytics Service” which apparently is hogging system resources, gathering telemetry and other data and sending it to HP without the user knowing.

Even though Computer World has done an investigation into the issue, it’s not certain how “HP Touchpoint Analytics Service” ended up on the systems of HP users in the first place. There is the possibility that it may have installed via Microsoft’s Windows Update, or via HP’s support assistant, but some consumers are still upset that it was introduced without them knowing.

However it happened I don’t appreciate it’s sneaky take over of my computer’s system resources. From yesterday to today it’s been making my computer work so hard I can hear it like cranking away and the light in the back of my computer is flashing rapidly in-tune with the cranking. In Task Manager I can see it starting and stopping numerous applications, it’s client service and installer, console window host, command prompts, timeout-pause command prompt, it’s causing a lot of up and down use of antimalware service executable and local system.

Though a description of the service shows that it “harvests telemetry information that is used by HP Touchpoint’s analytic services,” a consumer can quickly remove the HP Touchpoint Analytics Service if it so happens to be of concern to them.  In fact, HP issued the following statement in regards to the issue.

HP Touchpoint Analytics is a service we have offered since 2014 as part of HP Support Assistant. It anonymously collects diagnostic information about hardware performance. No data is shared with HP unless access is expressly granted. Customers can opt-out or uninstall the service at any time. HP Touchpoint Analytics was recently updated and there were no changes to privacy settings as part of this update. We take customer privacy very seriously and act in accordance with a strict policy, available here.

In a time when consumer privacy is at the forefront of the news, this is definitely an interesting story. As you may recall Lenovo also faced similar heat for pre-installing adware on laptops, and Microsoft even faced criticism for Windows 10 Privacy, though the company later introduced new settings to correct user concerns.

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