Article 43

 

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Windows Privacy Flew Out The Window

Have you heard - or been stung by - WINDOWS GENUINE ADVANTAGE?

It puts Microsoft - not you - in ultimate control of your computer.

There’s a lot of press by Microsoft and coverd by the MEDIA that it’s WGA anti-piracy tools will only stop a suspected illegal installation of Windows XP from getting Windows updates, but the goal may be to CONTROL our computers with some flimsy and perhaps MISLEADING DISCLOSURE to back it up. My experience suggests not letting WGA phone home may disable the Windows XP desktop entirely.

After windowsupdate downloaded and installed WGA, Windows sent me to the product activation wizard (like when you first install Windows) claiming Windows needs to be (re)licensed, then not accepting the serial for the computer and OS a year old - forcing TWO CALLS TO MICROSOFT to get my desktop back, the day after WGA’s STEALTH installer SNUCK itself into my computer - and have what looks like related SPYWARE since.  That was three weeks ago.

Because I block software phoning home at the gateway (WGA CAN’T BE STOPPED WITH A BOGUS HOSTS FILE ENTRY), it’s fallback operation may be to deny the user his/her desktop if/when it can’t get through.  That may explain what happened to ME, PC-SHRINK, GUARAV1, PHIL, and countless OTHERS being kicked out of Windows by WGA’s spyware for whatever reason.

Yesterday, after following MICROSOFT’S INSTRUCTIONS, I’m still logging stuff to stats.update.microsoft.com, statsupdate.microsoft.com.nsatc.net, 207.46.248.119 and 207.46.253.125.  If the files listed in the Microsoft article - which I deleted - are still on the computer, then they may be hidden or something else may be up that may not have been brought out in the open.  Logs show the spyware is trying to phone home every hour or so.  For what?

Is it Microsoft’s intent from now on to regularly exchange data between our computers and somebody’s databank(s) by having their software make automatic and unannounced calls over the internet, and if those calls are unsuccessful or intentionally blocked - permanently disable Windows? Is there any truth to what the FOLKS ON ZDNET ARE SAYING?

Regarding the information that may be automatically collected by, and shared with third parties - Will Microsoft claims it owns the information not unlike what AT&T’S DOING with it’s new privacy policy and customer phone records? Will they CATALOG OUR SOFTWARE and sell that information without our CONSENT or proper disclosure?  It may sound paranoid to think so, but then again - it may not.

Will Microsoft let us permanently disable it’s spyware (even if extorted to pay extra for it), disclose it’s ultimate intent, and detail the information being collected by, and exchanged with - third parties?

Maybe they’ll claim it has something to do with homeland security, and the US GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO KNOW what’s on all our computers - with WGA and the parties collecting our data - cooperatives in the undertaking?

The folks at GROKLAW put the issue in perspective:

You have been given a vision of the future, where software will be a service, and all you get is a license to use it the way they allow you to use it. How do you like Microsoft’s Brave New World?

Surely they will find a way to check that you are complying with all the above, so I think it’s clear that if you stay with Microsoft products, you have to agree to share your computer with them, that your privacy will be in their hands, and that they can control your computer without your say so. And they won’t necessarily tell you clearly what they are doing, judging by this incident, or perhaps there will be no notice at all, as mentioned in the EULA. It’s not about you buying a product and using it any way you wish. They let you use their software only within strict limitations they set which by the way do not conform to your rights under COPYRIGHT LAW. This is a license, a kind of contract, whereby you waive rights you would otherwise have in order to use their software. And you are presented with a EULA at least one paralegal can’t even understand, too late to say no in a meaningful way.

If faced with a CHOICE to let your computer trade undisclosed information with whoever Microsoft wants, or loose the Windows software you paid for and are entitled to use - which would you choose?  Remember - laws may be nothing more than PIECES OF PAPER

Privacy and freedom are dying in America. 
Microsoft Windows’ WGA is it’s latest expression.
And we’re letting it HAPPEN.

There are ALTERNATIVES.

Links:
A CONTRACT ONLY MICROSOFT CAN BREAK
MICROSOFT WGA FORUM
MICROSOFT EMAIL SUPPORT
MICROSOFT FACES LAWSUIT OVER WGA
MICROSOFT DENIES WINDOWS XP KILL SWITCH
VISTA’S PRODUCT ACTIVATION WORRIES
GRIPELINE WGA POSTS
LAUREN WEINSTEIN’S WGA POSTS
GROKLAW - IT’S A MATTER OF INFORMED CONSENT
WGA - WORSE THAN EXTORTION
WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER EULA
BAD VISTA DOT ORG
VISTA ULTIMATUM
STILL LOOKING FOR REASONS TO KEEP AWAY FROM WINDOWS PART 1
STILL LOOKING FOR REASONS TO KEEP AWAY FROM WINDOWS PART 2

READ MORE...
Posted by Elvis on 07/01/06 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Microsoft And Windows
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