Microsoft as “Big Brother!”
A lot of people are VERY concerned about what is being called “Domestic Spying” by the government, with cries of, “Big Brother!” and Orwellian conspiracy schemes are discussed in hushed tones throughout the country. A close look at the truth of such programs would seem to make these fears less scary… as the information being gathered is not actual phone conversations, but just numbers called. Still, that is enough to chill many folks!
Now, what if I told you that there was a company that since 2005 has had a program on YOUR computer that reports EVERY DAY about your system, what it is running, and other pertinent information? well, that HAS been happening… and the company is… you guessed it… Microsoft!
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols says in his article, “I don’t mean to be paranoid, but when someone tells me that, oh, by the way, they’ve been checking on my XP and Windows 2000 PCs every day since July 2005 when Microsoft made WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) mandatory or you couldn’t download patches, I get a little concerned. Still, it’s not like Microsoft would actually collect more information and then use it against such competitors as Firefox would they? Oh wait, come to think of it, didn’t Microsoft once cause Windows to produce fake error messages if a user was running DR-DOS instead of MS-DOS? While they never admitted to it, they did finally end up paying Caldera Systems, one of the ancestors of today’s SCO, approximately $60 million to make the resulting lawsuit go away. No, nothing like that has happened. I mean maybe they’re using WGA to report on what applications people are really using for market information, but that’s harmless isn’t it? I mean lots of spyware, ah, programs do that, right? Of course.”