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More on Microsoft's Calling Home Problem

I wrote a short while ago about the fact that Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage tool is phoning home on a regular basis (daily, in fact). This issue has garnered more attention over the last week or so, and very smart people are tackling the issue.

These two articles, Big Brother Microsoft and Big Brother Microsoft is Snooper Than I Thought, were written following my original posting and include more information about the information disclosed to Microsoft. Then, Pamela Jones of Groklaw got into the discussion with her article, Microsoft’s Calling Home Problem: It’s a Matter of Informed Consent, in which she carefully and meticulously looks at the issues, the EULAs (or lack thereof), and the timing of those EULAs. Her conclusion?

Microsoft has now put out a statement, asserting that the Windows Genuine Advantage tool is not spyware, that they’re going to change it some, and that one thing that distinguishes it from spyware is that they get consent before installing it. I question the accuracy of the statement.

She proceeds to back that up with a detailed analysis of the EULAs (End User License Agreements), when EULAs are even presented to the user. I’m no lawyer, but her discussion and analysis of the matter is detailed and fascinating to read. Even if you disagree with Microsoft’s handling of this situation, I encourage you to read the entire article so that you have a good feel for the principles that are involved.

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