Lexmark International, Inc. reportedly acknowledged installing tracking software (aka spyware) that reports printing and scanning activity, as well as consumables use, to a database managed at a cryptic domain, registered by the Lexington, Kentucky-based company. The DLL (dynamic link library) file located in the computer’s c:\program files\lexmark500 folder tracks and reports printing use to http://www.lxkcc1.com/.
Reports of the spyware initially surfaced in the comp.periphs.printers Usenet newsgroup, and many details are still forthcoming; however, at least one confirmation from Lexmark has been reported. Although Lexmark denies the usage data is collected for any purpose other than a routine survey, the spyware can easily correlate the usage and registration data to allow a more detailed and personal tracking of a user’s printing and scanning behavior.
A quick search of the Usenet newsgroups turned up many unconfirmed reports of Lexmark spyware, going back a few years. I will keep an eye out for more details. It’s quite possible for a printer/scanner manufacturer to install data-recording software for survey purposes along with the peripheral’s driver; however, doing so without clear and open acknowledgement to the user seems a bit covert, and that’s one of the defining characteristics of spyware.
If you learn of any confirmed and reliable updates, please let me know.
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Lexmark International, Inc.