Rented computers have been caught secretly recording people having sex in their homes, authorities in America have said.
Seven companies used detective software able to capture recorded images without its customers knowledge.
According to a Federal Trade Commission ruling, the DesignerWare software 'PC Rental Agent' was also able to track key strokes and record other personal data, including:
"User names and passwords for email accounts, social media websites, and financial institutions; Social Security numbers; medical records; private emails to doctors; bank and credit card statements; and webcam pictures of children, partially undressed individuals, and intimate activities at home".
The software was intended to be used to help track and recover rented computers.
Once activated, it would pop up a security screen asking for information including addresses and phone numbers. Meanwhile the "detective mode" in the software was able to capture extensive data, including recorded images.
The ruling will ban the 'detective mode', and should stop rental stores using deception to gather information from consumers.
It is thought to have been installed on about 420,000 computers worldwide.
"An agreement to rent a computer doesn't give a company license to access consumers' private emails, bank account information, and medical records, or, even worse, webcam photos of people in the privacy of their own homes," said Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC.
"The FTC orders today will put an end to their cyber spying."