15 Jun, 2011 | Posted by: st

Rental Boomerang

What do you do when you need an extra computer, like when yours fails and you have important and urgent work to complete, or you need a second one for just a short while to catch up with your keywording?
Or you need one for your daughter away at college or on a trip to Europe?
One course is to rent a computer.
And if all goes well, you pay your rental fees and return the computer per the rental agreement. But what if things donít go well, or you run into financial difficulties?
Looking at it from the rental companyís view, you've got their equipment and are not paying for it. In a federal lawsuit filed against an Atlanta-based company, the allegations are that the rental company installed software on the computer to track keystrokes, make screenshots and even for taking webcam images. Of course, this raised privacy issues, especially since the renter was allegedly not informed of the monitoring software.
The company says it has the right to install monitoring software to facilitate retrieval of their equipment. Naturally, as with any lawsuit, there are fine points, differing interpretations, and differing viewpoints of legal matters. And this is not the first instance of such action.
Last year a school district agreed to pay a fine to settle lawsuits over photos taken on school-issued laptops in an attempt to locate missing computers. Such monitoring is something to keep in mind when renting equipment, and this may apply to electronic equipment other than computers.

Do Not Track

By now we all know about the national Do Not Call list, and its counterpart for Internet users, the various Do Not Track proposals. We reported to you last time on Appleís addition of a Do Not Track tool to their browser (coming soon). Microsoft has added a similar tool to their latest browser.
The idea, and problem, is that these tools are intended to tell trackers that you donít want to be tracked, but that doesn't (yet) mean that the trackers have to pay attention. In a strange twist, Microsoftís advertising unit may be ignoring such requests, according to a recent article. Such discord underscores the divergent views of the major players in this technology. So perhaps for a while at least, the Do Not Track requests are being sent and no one is listening.

Bill Hopkins is the Webmaster of PhotoSourceFolio, where photographers
display photos
and a regular contributor to PhotoStockNotes. Send comments to Bill via email. Fax: 1 818 831-0916. For on-line questions, contact Bill on the Kracker Barrel.


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