Computers rented out in US 'secretly capturing customers having sex'
Federal Trade Commission officials claimed the companies used software made by Designerware to photograph the unscrupulous acts.
The software, called PC Rental Agent, helped them to capture people engaging in "intimate acts", including sex, the BBC reports.
It is believed that PC Rental Agent has been installed in approximately 420,000 computers worldwide.
The FTC said a feature in the software, called Detective Mode, which would typically become activated if the user was late in returning equipment, or failed to pay for use, had captured "couples engaged in sexual activities".
Part of the process involved a pop-up window designed to look like a software registration screen, which would request personal information such as email addresses and telephone numbers that could then be used to pursue the users for payment and/or the return of equipment, the report said.
The FTC said the software had gained access to sensitive information, and had collected data such as social security numbers; medical records; private emails to doctors; bank and credit card statements along with usernames and passwords for email accounts.
In the FTC''s formal complaint document, it said that webcam pictures of children, partially undressed individuals, and intimate activities at home were also found, the report added.
Designerware could not be reached for comment.