would Microsoft spy on you?

17 07 2006

Would Microsoft spy on you?  Would they monitor what you are doing and not tell you they’re doing it?  That’s some questions being asked after the discovery that their anti-counterfeit tool is sending data back to Microsoft daily.  Here’s an excerpt from CNet.com that explains it :

Microsoft’s anti-counterfeit tool is phoning home…daily

Per BetaNews, Microsoft has admitted that its Windows Genuine Advantage program, which is supposed to sniff out counterfeit copies of Windows, is actually phoning home every day, even after it’s determined whether you’re running a legit version of the OS. And in case you’re wondering, no, Microsoft didn’t tell anyone that WGA was checking in with the mothership, even though the software is a mandatory installation for anyone who wants to use Windows Update. After rumors surfaced on the Net about the connections, Microsoft confirmed that the software makes the daily call as a “safety switch,” so that the company can turn off the program if it needs to. (Riiighht.) Meanwhile, Joe Wilcox of Jupiter Research goes on at length about the evil tactics Microsoft’s been using lately in beta software — installing WGA without permission along with OneCare, requiring you to participate in the Customer Experience program if you’re using WMP 11, and opting you in to contextual ads and keywords in your Windows Live mail. You know, just in case you’d been feeling a little complacent about the Empire lately.

Why would they need to keep sending data every day?  I can understand it checking when you do a fresh install of Windows, but if my copy of XP is valid today, it will still be valid tomorrow.  Why would anyone install a pirated copy when they already had a legal one installed?  So why should it keep checking?

Just more reasons to avoid Vista (the next version of Windows)… the trend these days is to take away more rights from consumers, and Microsoft is on-board with that.

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