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article imageHP insists it didn't install spyware on personal PCs

By James Walker     Nov 30, 2017 in Technology
HP has responded to allegations it has silently installed spyware on its consumer PCs. The company is accused of sneaking a telemetry client onto computers in a software update. It's said to make the system sluggish by continually occupying the processor.
The allegations were raised by ComputerWorld earlier this week after an investigation discovered HP's new "Touchpoint Analytics Client" was installing itself on computers without permission. It arrives in a regular Windows update package or as part of HP's own Support Assistant downloads.
Unfortunately for HP, the silent install wasn't as quiet as it could have been. Complaints about the software suggest it can significantly slow down the system and consume excess resources. Customers expressed outrage on HP's forums after being forced to accept a privacy-compromising telemetry download accompanied by a slower computing experience.
After facing mounting criticism this week, HP responded to the allegations in a series of press statements. It stressed the new Touchpoint Analytics Client is nothing more than an update for an existing part of its Support Assistant utility. The company said it "anonymously collects" diagnostic information which is limited to details of the hardware installed in the computer.
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The controversy is just the latest privacy scare for owners of modern computers. Manufacturers insist that access to telemetry data helps them to identify issues and develop security patches. However, many consumers are uncomfortable with the idea of their device sending data home without their knowledge. These concerns are exasperated when a manufacturer forces the installation of new software under uncertain circumstances.
The HP Touchpoint Manager website explains how it can be used to help enterprises manage their devices by collecting aggregate information and exposing remote policy enforcement options. However, HP hasn't explained why the recently reoriented Touchpoint Manager is now being deployed to consumer PCs that aren't part of an organisation. Despite the company's reassurance that there is no privacy issue, many users remain unconvinced.
If you own an HP computer and want to remove the offending software, it is relatively easy to uninstall. Open the Windows Control Panel, navigate to Programs and Features and then find "HP Touchpoint Analytics Client" in the list. Click to uninstall it and prevent your PC from sending data back to HP each day.
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