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EPIC Makes Privacy Case Against Windows XP To FTC

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the force-nor-fraud- dept.

Privacy 238

jeffy124 writes: "EPIC has posted their complaint submitted to the FTC regarding Windows XP. Do note that it is a pdf file and will require a pdf reader of some kind." Hotmail, Passport (adult and child versions), Hailstorm, email harvesting, and deceptive privacy policies in general all play a role here; there's plenty in here that ought to spark questions about Microsoft business practices even among die-hard free-marketeers.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

epic, eh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2190534)

first with Jazz Jackrabit, now with the MS bashing!

Re:WTF (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2190535)

pdf2ps MS_complaint.pdf MS_complaint.ps
gv MS_complaint.ps&

hey... you know... you don't like it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2190536)

...then DON'T

FUCKING

USE

IT.

how fucking obvious is that?

but no, you have to make the whole thing into a LEENUCKS leet boosterism rally.

i'm buying a typewriter.

Re:What's disgusting... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2190538)

So, ignoring the fact that your use of MS software encourages others to use it, on a paid basis or otherwise, you're telling us that you're exactly the kind of pirate that allows mass media to dismiss all Open Source users as habitual thieves, and a market not worth having? Good for you. I hope you're hapy pirating your MS software because you're helping to ensure that there will never be an alternative.

Oh pipe down everyone (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2190539)

Slashdot's/OSDN privacy policy is just as bad.

Escaping the Windows XP tar pit (5)

ciurana (2603) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190544)

This is disgusting. I'm an advocate of laissez faire capitalism. This move by Microsoft and Windows XP is downright criminal because it abuses those users who know the least. A knowledgeable user won't fall for this. A newby, on the other hand...

Can we offer alternatives? I think so. For the last couple of years I'd advised people to go either of two routes (including my customers):

Buy a Macintosh
If you're a newbie there still isn't a computer as easy to use as the Mac. It's more attractive than a PC, it doesn't break as often (i.e. DLL or hardware conflicts), and it requires overall less attention than Windows systems do. All the common applications are available in it, and it delivers better performance for a smaller configuration (i.e. a Mac running MS Office requires half the RAM as a PC for accomplishing the same task).

Use Linux Systems While it's common to hear "my application X only runs under Windows!" I found that either a filter/converter exists for the application or that they can use StarOffice and carry on. There have been very few instances in which a given piece of software was Windows-specific (i.e. QuickBooks Pro); in those instances we suggest deploying a single Windows system used for that activity and sharing all resources from the Samba network.

I have two anecdotes related to this.

The CEO of a company we rolled out refuses to move off Windows/Outlook/Office. Every mayor virus and worm out there has hit him alone since we converted the rest of the network (30+ people). Yes, we installed VirusScan and Norton Utilities and everything else. On Monday he called to ask for a quote for converting his system to Linux. He's seen that we can fix everyone else's system without even having to physically go to their office, they have almost no downtime, and they can do their business with Linux/Solaris applications.

The other anecdote is about my 66 year old Mother. She's as computer illiterate as they come, having retired a few years ago and having had admin assistants all her professional life to take care of things for her. She wanted a computer so I gave her one of my old Compaq Presarios. The catch? We installed Linux + KDE + Netscape. She's happy web surfing, exchanging e-mail, visiting newsgroups, etc. We set an idiot-proof configuration for her, and if she wants a new program we install it remotely (i.e. we recently installed StarOffice and Mozilla 0.9.2 in her system). She knows about Windows, but she uses Oscar for Instant Messaging off the AOL web site, and everything else she needs as an Internet surfer is readily available to her. Flash, Java, etc. etc. are all readily available to her.

(I was ready to buy her an iBook if this little mental experiment didn't work. It never came to that. The only problem we had with this was that, at first, she kept forgetting to shut the system down so we had a long fsck on every startup.)

Based on our experiences, we can safely say that the best way to escape the Windows XP tar pit is by educating the users. Don't rant against Windows. Take the time to explain to others why there are better options out there. Show them what the alternatives look like. Give people credit and assume they're smarter than you thought. You'll be surprised at how well they understand what you told them.

Cheers!

E

Re:One World, One Web, One Program (2)

GeorgeH (5469) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190546)

Apple's address is One Infinate Loop.

Feel free to draw your own conclusions.
--

So that makes you a hypocrite as well (2)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190547)

as a thief ? If you are gonna pirate, just do it. Don't waste our time trying to justify it as social protest against M$ or the robin hood syndrome. I don't pirate software, thats like stealing from myself. How can I as a sys admin expect my users to maitain licenses and legit products if I can't ??

Not going to make a bit of difference... (2)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190548)

The FTC will just say "look, Microsoft is already undergoing an antitrust trial, so siddown and shaddup".

The FTC hasn't done crap about protecting free trade in recent years, and I don't see that it's reasonable to expect them to do an about-face now.


--

Re:Heres the scary part (1)

Keck (7446) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190549)

you made me realize something pretty scary with
your .sig...

if 666 is the 'sin' of the beast (ha ha) then
the cos of the beast isn't cos( sin(666) ) as you
have in your .sig -- it's cos( sin^-1(666) ),
which is ... 1... Needless to say this doesn't
bode well.

Marketroids & John Tesh (2)

llywrch (9023) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190551)

> Marketing people are slime, they should all be forced to spend large amounts of time with John Tesh.

But they'd LOVE to hear Tesh -- just ask Steff. You need to submit them to something that will give them pain. I really pissed one marektroid off with a Sex Pistols tape, so that should give you a clue.

I owned a Jesus & Mary Chain tape around that time. Maybe I should have played that next . . .

Geoff

Yes, it is a... (1)

Edward Teach (11577) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190553)

Brave New Microsoft World.

--- This is my sig. There are many like it, but this one is mine. ---

One World, One Web, One Program (4)

Detritus (11846) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190554)

From the complaint:
Microsoft's principal place of business is One Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington 98052-6399.
One Microsoft Way?

I think they allow the internet connection ... (1)

Augusto (12068) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190555)

... but might not let you use their media player and chat programs (and other stuff) without the "passport".

Wow ! Is like MS is trying as hard as possible to convince people not to buy/use XP !!!

Also, anybody know if this thing pops up for broadband connections ? If so, when does it pop up ?

Re:Heres the scary part (1)

Augusto (12068) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190556)

Huh, hello ?

They say the message pops up when you try to use "dialup". It doesn't say anything about broadband connections.

Geez, please read before posting.

doubt it.. (2)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190560)

With the current goverment in hand I think it is hard to believe that they will care.

Here is why.

First they said, yes M$ has a monoploy, but they are not really planning on doing anything about it. More of a slap on the wrist than anything else.

Next, they ruled that the boyscouts could discriminate against gays, because they are a private organization. (gays are second class citizens in the US now).

Next they ruled that they could discriminate cause they are a religious organization against gays (gays are second class citizens in the US now).

They are thinking still of passing an ammendment to the constitution to prevent 'desicration of the us flag'. (yes this is in congress again) Oh please don't they have better things to do than this? And this will accomplish what? How many flag burnings are there a year to justify this? And so what if they do. It is just a flag! A symbol. It is not like they are defacing the statue of liberty, by spray painting her pink or blue or something.

They have not stepped in even though AT&T and AOL/Time Warner are talking about merging their cable systems (talk about mega crap cable). All the channels you don't want at a price you can't afford.

People always want to blame the gays and lesbians first for ruining our country, but the truth is it is the politicians who don't know s*** about anything that are taking away our freedoms first and letting big companies step all over little people as well.

You have no privacy, you have no rights to freedom, you have no right in your own home. Welcome to America, land of the used to be free....

Yeah I'm pissed off at the state of america.

I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
Flame away, I have a hose!

Re:PDF file (2)

Quikah (14419) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190567)

Hmm, this is kind of silly. So could you publish something in ROT13 then sue all the companies who make newsreader software for distributing a circumvention device? Heck, Microsoft distributes one with every copy of Windows now (Outlook Express).

Probably some existing technology clause in the DMCA...

You're kidding right? (2)

BeBoxer (14448) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190568)

If this is accurate, there are only 256 possible keys! Wow. That is actually just like ROTX where X can be any number from 0 to 255. If the encryption is really that bad, I think you could make a strong argument that it is not actually encrypted at all. CSS looks like a well-honed 256-bit cipher in comparison. Jeez.

Scariest quotes that jump out at me (3)

Lumpish Scholar (17107) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190571)

"The Windows XP operating system leaves the user with little choice but to employ Passport. As soon as the user starts a computer and uses a modem, a dialog box appears on the screen stating: 'You've just connected to the Internet. You need a Passport to use Windows XP Internet communications features (such as instant messaging, voice chat and video), and to access Net-enabled features. Click here to set up your Passport.' "

"... users cannot receive support services for products without registering for Microsoft Passport. The user's product identification number [not provided with XP activation but provided with XP registration] is then linked to his or her personally identifiable Passport information."

" 'If in the future Passport sends email on behalf of participating web sites, you will be able to follow instructions contained in the email to choose whether or not you'd like to receive additional email.' There appears to be no means by which users currently can limit the exchange of their email addresses with the Microsoft Network and no limitations on the unsolicited commercial email that may result from the collection of email addresses in this fashion." Yikes; built-in opt-out spam!

(I de-moronized the quotes by hand. Slightly scary thing: The original document was written with Microsoft Word, then converted with Acrobat PDFWriter.)

A lasting piece of the action (5)

Lumpish Scholar (17107) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190572)

A recent AT&T CEO (not the current one) once lamented, "Every year, billions of dollars of sales are made over our 800 numbers. Why can't we somehow get some cut of that business?" I think the idea was to arrange lower rates in exchange for a percentage.

When several projects I've been on asked Oracle for a price quote, we were asked for our business plan. Oracle wanted to charge one (large) ISP for every dialup customer account! (Another project chose Sybase for a similar reason.)

Bill Gates, MSFT's chief strategist, must have recently asked himself, "Billions of dollars are spent online every year, from computers running our operating system. Why can't ...?"

The scary thing is, MSFT is providing some value to the online vendors. They've got lots of allies for shoving this down our throats.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

PDF? (1)

dlb (17444) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190573)


What's so offensive about a pdf file?
Jeez, it's 2001, you can start thinking beyond vi and notepad.

No, it's a bundling issue (3)

GroundBounce (20126) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190582)

The point is not that they require registration as part of support, it's that they specifically require you to use another one of their products to gain that support. Normally that's not a problem, but if you're a Monopoly, it is.

One of the major points of the Sherman act is that you can't use a legally obtained monopoly in one market to gain an unfair advantage (and hence, most likely another monopoly) in another.

Apple (or any other non-monopoly) can get away with bundling other software and services and it would not be deemed anticompetitive because they only have 5% of the market for the original product.

The fact is that the rules are different for a monopoly because of the Serman act. A monopoly must be much more careful what they bundle than a non-mononopoly.

The wierd thing is that although there is no great groundswell of support for repealing the Sherman act, yet many people want to let Microsoft off the hook as some kind of "benevolent" monopoly. The problem is that you can't (or at least shouldn't) apply the law selectively.

Re:It seems to me... (1)

ENOENT (25325) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190584)

I wonder how many people (and companys) now will have the gaul to go up against Goliath...

The only Gauls I know of who would have a chance against Goliath are Asterix and Obelix.

Re:Heres the scary part (3)

schon (31600) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190591)

'Net-enabled features' is vague, but it doesn't say 'everything to do with the Internet'.

That's the whole point.

You can probably make an educated guess as to what 'Net-enabled features' means - but 99% of the computer-buying public (ie. the very users that MS is targeting) won't. They will read that, and assume that they need Passport to USE the internet (after all, it came up when they told the computer that they wanted to use the internet.)

This is exceptionally scary.

Re:The Beast of Redmond (2)

fluffhead (32589) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190592)

Yeah, now I guess we know who the villain in those kooky "Left Behind" novels is... Muah hah hah ha!

#include "disclaim.h"
"All the best people in life seem to like LINUX." - Steve Wozniak

Consumer? I'm a customer, dammit! (1)

MrCreosote (34188) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190593)

When did we all stop being customers and turn into 'consumers'?

To me, the term 'consumers' conjures a picture of some farm animal being fed and fattened, just before being slaughtered

Demand *Customers* rights now!!!

Re:You're kidding right? (1)

mefus (34481) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190594)

Yeah, isn't it re-applying the XOR of /each/ key element to each character?

I would think they'd only do it once, and do a
i=++i%strlen(key) instead of that for loop. That way they iterate through the key /and/ have somewhat better encryption (like, ok until mid-19th century)

Re:misleading... (1)

mefus (34481) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190595)

Wha- huh?

Did someone accuse MS of consistency?

Re:PDF file (1)

Old Wolf (56093) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190607)

Quick, someone release an e-book of this so we can use Dmitry's software and feel cool!

Re:What's disgusting... (1)

Chess Cardigan (66841) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190611)

I blame the system. Because we have a system that rewards this kind of practice.

Re:Heres the scary part (2)

jmccay (70985) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190612)

You might actually be wrong. Remember Microsoft tied MSN INTO the operating system. If they have the view that all internet applications must go through the internet via some MSN stuff that the companies don't realise is there, it could very well be that way. Remember when they tied IE to the OS? I was running Netscape and watched the difference inthe speed at which it connected to the internet befre and after I had to install VC 6.0 (which requires the OS tieing version of IE to access the help files).
There is definately a chance they did that. What is going to stop them? Remember they think they ca tie in everything into the OS. They also think the OS is the way to access the hardware on the machine. Thus by default they can control how certain aspects like require Passport service in order to access the various parts of the computers hard used for connecting to the internet.

Re:Escaping the Windows XP tar pit (2)

Catch22RG (71033) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190613)

You make a good argument, but you fail to consider 2 things:

Macs are more expensive than Intel-based systems. If I were to buy a Mac right now, I would end up spending around $3000. A roughly equivalent Intel system would be no more than half that. Cost is a major issue for people who are not serious computer users, and sometimes even for those who are.

Linux-based systems are difficult to maintain. Using Linux can be easy, as you have demonstrated with the case of your mother. However, there's little doubt that she could not have installed new software--let alone the operating system itself--without your assistance. Unfortunately, not all users have someone to hold their hand and maintain their systems for them.

MS is out of control (1)

Ghengis (73865) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190615)

Microsoft is getting bold now that Bush has people in place who will avoid going to court over monopoly issues and what-not in order to "promote business" so that it can "improve the economy." So, now Microsoft is less afraid of legal action and is becoming more bold in it's practices. First of all, Microsoft's general way of doing busniess is foul... instead of trying to please customers by giving them what they want... they skirt the limits of the law as closely as possible to try to cheat the customer as much as possible, hopefully without them knowing. What's sad is that the general user has no idea of what's going on, so they believe what MS says... blindly. What got MS in trouble to begin with is using such practices against more tech-savvy customers such as Dell, Gateway, Compaq, etc. They almost got fried, so now they focus their efforts on the people that don't know what's going on.. This really bites!

The Beast of Redmond (2)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190618)

Why is this making me think of Revelation 13?

To wit:

11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

Emphasis mine. I don't know about the forehead thing, but I'm sure "Six hundred threescore and six" has got to be in the Windows Registry somewhere!

Re:WTF (1)

AirLace (86148) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190619)

Or perhaps even better:

gv MS_complaint.pdf

GhostScript has supported pdf in addition to postscript natively for years. xpdf is also a decend pdf viewer though it's a bit less capable than gs.

Re:doubt it.. (3)

donutello (88309) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190620)

Next, they ruled that the boyscouts could discriminate against gays, because they are a private organization. (gays are second class citizens in the US now).

Homosexual people are NOT second-class citizens in this country. Yes, there are some morons who think homosexuality is somehow wrong but they are a fast-shrinking minority.

That issue aside, just as it is important that the state protect ones right to practice ones sexual orientation, it is just as important to me that a private organization has the freedom to make and enact its own rules.

I don't want to live in a society where the majority is able to cram its opinion down everyones throats. The down side to this is that the lunatic fringe is able to practice what it wants to but the up side is that if there is a small minority that is right about something, they are not automatically silenced because of being considered the lunatic fringe.

This freedom is very important to me and I'm willing to pay whatever price it takes.

Parties (2)

kindbud (90044) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190621)

I got a kick out of the Parties section. Most of them make sense, EPIC, EFF, MAP, etc. But Nader's CTFAI? Seems like a bad case of me-too:
The Consumer Task Force for Automotive Issues was co-founded by Ralph Nader and Remar Sutton. CTFAI monitors auto fraud activities for consumer groups, attorneys general, and plaintiff firms. CTFAI has particular interest in consumer privacy since using the Internet is a common practice for consumers looking for information on cars and loan.[sic]
Uhhhh.... yeah. Right.

Ecommerce and Microsoft....... (2)

browser_war_pow (100778) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190624)

I wouldn't buy from a company that makes their site inaccessible to anyone with a fairly well-made, mostly standards compliant browser such as Mozilla, IE or Opera. I think many would feel the same way. Imagine people going on the road and finding out that they cannot buy something because all of the computers are running an oler version of Windows like 95 or 98 and can't use the .Net extensions. They would be pretty pissed probably.

Re:What's disgusting... (3)

OmegaDan (101255) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190625)

this is true --- but how can you hold consumers responsible for what business have conspired to keep secret from them? The consumer privacy sitaution in the US is absolutley out of control and business is dying to keep it that way.

I will say though, it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to see a few relatively unknown foundations (mostly non-profit?) fire a shot across the bow like this.

Re:pdf? (1)

Lussarn (105276) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190627)

Good speaking.

First you have to convince everyone that (open != free download) altough most people here probably understand that.

Re:What's disgusting... (2)

Trinition (114758) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190633)

I blame it on us, the consumers

I have to partially disagree. It is my belief that one of the purposes of our government is to execute the will of the people. We have a representative democracy where we select a few individuals to represent our best interests. We don't have tmi to personally investigate each topic concerning our nation to the level of detail which it requires. That is the full-time job of our government officials.

Now maybe you can argue we should've complained louder. You could also very well argue that our government is not doing a good job of protecting the interests of its citizens.

But then you also have to remember that corporations are run by citizens. Citizens own stock in corporations. By ensuring successful businesses, the government is also ensuring the livlihood of those citizens with interest in that corporation's success.

Personally, I think the government needs to a better job of considering -- what is it? -- the needs of the many with the needs of the few.

I've only tinkered with actually contacting my congressman to express my views. So, I do take some of the blame. Corporations spend a lot more time and money talking to the congressmen that citizens do.

Maybe we citizens should take a level of interest on par with that of the corporate world.

Re:misleading... (1)

SirGeek (120712) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190636)

Then someone needs to come up a good implemention of LDAP... Then let people register for free

Re:Heres the scary part (4)

geekoid (135745) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190642)

No, but it sure as hell implies it.
you need pasport to use 'net-enabled' features such as auto update, any MS product that uses the internet.

Re:An embarrasment to MS's critics (1)

Hertog (136401) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190643)

Last time I bought a toaster, it didn't tell the local bakery about my toasting habits after I filled in the waranty form. Neither does my cofee-device tell Douwe Egberts (Dutch cofee brand) of my humongous cofee intake. And THATS exactly what this whole passport thing is going to do. With such an enourmous database filled with surfing behaviour, linked to an identifiable person, next time I would contact MS-support they will be able to tell that I take my cofee with three sugar cubes!

Re:hey... you know... you don't like it... (2)

Hertog (136401) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190644)

Dunno 'bout you, but at my /. settings, none of the 'top' reply's have, up 'till your post, even mentioned Linux.

Windows XP and The Average User (3)

Self Bias Resistor (136938) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190646)

"38. The Windows XP operating system leaves the user with little choice but to employ Passport. As soon as the user starts a computer and uses a modem, a dialog box appears on the screen stating: "You've just connected to the Internet. You need a Passport to use Windows XP Internet communications features (such as instant messaging, voice chat and video), and to access Net-enabled features. Click here to set up your Passport."

Am I reading this correctly as MS not allowing an internet connection at all without a Passport?

Actually, no. What the paper is saying is that the setup of Windows XP to use the Internet automatically (this is where the problem lies as the user has no control over its appearance) presents you with a screen that requires you to setup a Passport account in order to use Microsoft's Internet services (ie. multimedia, IM etc). It doesn't stop you from installing your own software. The scary part about this is that the average user (as opposed to technically adept "geeks" like most of the Slashdot audience here) don't know this, and this gives Microsoft an(other) unfair advantage over its competitors. Paragraph 44 of the complaint [epic.org] also shows this.

What people have to learn is that the more that people want to have everything taken care for them (the iMac's software was preinstalled because people wanted to take it out of the box, plug it in and use it), the less control they will have other what they can do with their computer. Giving the power to set up your PC to someone else (especially corporations) and they will mean that it will be less suited to what you want and more to what Microsoft (or Compaq or whoever the company is) wants. The answer is simple: stop treating the computer like it's a glorified, Internet-accessible TV. Computers are complex machines that can be custom-built for various purposes (eg. servers, graphics computers). They are meant to be interactive. You reap what you sow, and the less effort you put into setting up your computer, the less you'll get out of it. The reason that XP is able to exercise this level of control over your computer is that people will not make the effort to take that control.

Although I will protest against having to register an account just to download some software (this means you too, FilePlanet [fileplanet.com] ).

Self Bias Resistor

Good. (1)

pjbass (144318) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190651)

I'm glad you're buying a typewriter. Then you can't make stupid posts with offensive language, bringing Linux into the picture, and giving MS the edge YET AGAIN in gaining popularity votes among corporate users by pigeonholing Linux as a "hackers" "script-kiddies" OS. Now, I hope this reply wasn't too much for your primitive mind to digest and process. Good day.

Re:Heres the scary part (3)

andyh1978 (173377) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190658)

You need a Passport to use Windows XP Internet communications features (such as instant messaging, voice chat and video), and to access Net-enabled features. Click here to set up your Passport.""
Am I reading this correctly as MS not allowing an internet connection at all without a Passport?
No.

You've just connected to the Internet.
So you're already online.

I'd say you just need a passport for, oh, instant messaging, voice chat and video (i.e. MSN Messenger).

'Net-enabled features' is vague, but it doesn't say 'everything to do with the Internet'.

Re:uh oh.... (1)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190661)

Did you ever want to be more than one place at a time.

Now you can with MS Distributed Identity TM.

The Request for Relief (3)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190662)

I wonder what they are asking for as Relief? Let's take a look:

REQUEST FOR RELIEF

Wherefore, the Complainants request that the Commission:

A. Initiate an investigation into the information collection practices of Microsoft through Passport and associated services;
B. Order Microsoft to revise the XP registration procedures so that purchasers of Microsoft XP are clearly informed that they need not register for Passport to obtain access to the Internet;
C. Order Microsoft to block the sharing of personal information among Microsoft areas provided by a user under the Passport registration procedures absent explicit consent;
D. Order Microsoft to incorporate techniques for anonymity and pseudo-anonymity that would allow users of Windows XP to gain access to Microsoft web sites without disclosing their actual identity
E. Order Microsoft to incorporate techniques that would enable users of Windows XP to easily integrate services provided by non-Microsoft companies for online payment, electronic commerce, and other Internet-based commercial activity; and
F. Provide such other relief as the Commission finds necessary to redress injury to consumers resulting from Microsoft's practices as described herein.

I imagine that Microsoft will scream bloody murder on Point E.

And I wonder what other redress for injury could be ordered.

I'm sure many folks will volunteer suggestions.

;-)

this is funny (1)

spongman (182339) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190663)

these guys are complaining about nothing. Hotmail, MSN messenger, MSN communities (hell, most community/vendor websites, including slashdot) already have password sign-ins.

All XP does is add the facility to save this password in your windows login info (just like most websites (yes, slashdot too) allow you to save that info in your cookies).

You don't need to enter your real name, or your credit card info, just make up an email address and password and you're off. Of course, if you don't want to use these sites then you don't need to provide a username/password, it's competely optional.

I don't understand what the fuss is about.

News Story (not PDF) (4)

Ratteau (183242) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190664)


I submitted this earlier but I guess the editors wanted to wait until they could get a copy of the complaint (understandable). The story about it is at CRN [crn.com] earlier today.

Sure, call me a karma whore, but there are some quotes/explanation from the executive director of EPIC.


--------

Canadians Gov't in bed with Microsoft (5)

Sydney Weidman (187981) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190666)

Nobody in Canada will do anything about unfair or deceptive trade practices or anything else related to Microsoft. They can't afford to apply commercial law to Microsoft because Microsoft is a major sponsor of the Federal Government's "Connecting Canadians" initiative. They're afraid to do anything bad to MS because MS might retaliate by dropping their sponsorship of the myriad of government programs which MS sponsors. Too bad we don't have activist organizations here that have the courage to stand up to this kind of treatment.

Re:PDF file (3)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190670)

A little off topic but you're post brought up the subject and I want to vent some anger just like anyone else upset about the DMCA vs. Dmitri thing.

The thing that angers me the most about Dmitri's imprisonment is how much actual work he had to do to break Adobe's so-called "secure solution".

I don't live in the U.S so I don't really have a problem doing this:

#define key "encrypted" /* this is no joke according to Dmitri's presentation */

while((c = get_byte()) {

&nbspbyte = c;

&nbspfor(i = 0; i < strlen(key); i++)
byte ^= key[i];

}

Slightly better than rot13. But not that much... The only real work was figuring out the key. Oh they made that _really_ hard.....

--
Garett

Re:What's disgusting... (2)

Altrag (195300) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190673)

As numerous people have already mentioned, Microsoft and other large companies are quite willing to be the ones poking our eyeballs out and stripping us of our sight..

but aside from that. consumer activism. Well, I may be mistaken here, but non-profit organizations such as EFF and EPIC tend to be started by consumers who feel that its time to do something about a problem, at least thats what I'd expect.
Now if everyone decided to drop their current jobs and join some activist group, how much actual work would ever get done?
On the other side, you may not particularly like Coke or Pepsi, but I bet you still drink stuff. One or the other of those two basically own everything that comes in a bottle or can, and equally evil companies own pretty much everything else. Sometimes consumers have to consume, even if they dont like it. Face it, no matter what you buy, somewhere down the line you're probably feeding a megacompany. (What about the stuff you picked from your garden? Well where did you get the seeds from? heh!)..
Then theres people like me. I live in Canada. Sure there's lots of battles to be fought up here as well (and yes I tend to be on the apathetic side, but I still see whats happening even if I dont bother doing anything about it), but when it comes to anything related to computers, pretty much everything interesting (in either the good or bad sense) happens in the US. What does this mean? Well it means I can't write a letter to my senator (I dont have one), I cant easily obtain membership in many activist groups (although I'm sure they'd be able to take my money as a donation if I had any.. but its not the same thing as actually doing something now is it?)..
Yet I still have to deal with Microsoft products on a daily basis..
Yes I can whine at my local Microsoft branch, but even if they care, I doubt they'd be listened to down south..
Yes I can "vote with my wallet", as long as I don't mind wasting the time finding/recreating my favorite apps in linux (mostly anime.. which means, a decent newsgroup binary downloader, an IRC client, and software to play the various media types.. I dont get much chance to use X but the command line variants that I've seen of the first two were not sufficiently useful for my purposes.. but that was around RH6 days.. maybe stuff has improved by now:P).. again, that apathy thing..
I still won't ever purchase WinXP though.. why? Well, firstly, I can't afford to pay every year/month/second/whatever their scheme turns out to be, and also, Win2K is perfectly useful (minus not being able to reinstall without formatting the drive)..

So.. the point of this ramble? Lets see: a) The purpose of organizations like EFF is to do the activism thing for all of us who are too busy/lazy.
b) You pretty much can't avoid megacorps. There's almost nothing you can do that doesn't feed into their pockets (who do you think made those CDs you burned your Linux iso's onto?)
c) The non-US population of the world has to put up with the fact that almost anything related to the internet (and most everything else computer-wise) is based in the US, where anything we say/do is pretty much completely ignored. And to make it better, US companies feel they have the right to prosecute non-US citizens doing legal acts in their country under US law (the DeCSS kid especially, he wasn't even on US soil as Dmitry was.. and under 18 at the time to boot. Go MPAA).

Forget (momentarily) the Privacy Issues... (2)

Hacker Cracker (204131) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190676)

The larger concern is that XP will be shipped with full raw sockets [grc.com] . This makes it likely (assuming XP becomes as ubiquitous as Win9X) for it to become the platform of choice for DDoS attacks...

-- Shamus

Insert pithy saying here

PDF file (4)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190682)

"Do note that it is apdf file and will require a pdf reader of some kind."

Too bad it's not a secure PDF file, I was looking forward to trying Elcomsoft [elcomsoft.com] 's software that Dmitri wrote.

Re:Circular reasoning (1)

Z4rd0Z (211373) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190683)

How so? They've given references and data to back up their claims. It's not about believing or disbelieving, it's about what is happening to information once it enters the Passport system and how XP makes it difficult for the average consumer to avoid Passport.

Re:What's disgusting... (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190684)

Many of us haven't bought MS products in years, but we remain a minority because of the status quo in the current market and business worlds.

I think more than just voting negatively with our dollars (i.e. not supporting companies whose practices we don't like), it's time to vote positively with our dollars by giving them to the EFF, FSF, and so on. Let's put that money to work for the good guys.

Re:What's disgusting... (1)

Weh (219305) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190691)

yeah, exactly, ms didn't become big because windows was such a great os but because they managed to get most people locked into their formats. Even if you are pirating ms software you are still helping them to stay in control of their formats by using it.

Re:misleading... (1)

An Onerous Coward (222037) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190692)



"Marketing people are slime, they should all be forced to spend large amounts of time with John Tesh."
You fool! How do you think marketers got that way in the first place? John Tesh has already destroyed so many of their brain cells that further exposure wouldn't affect them one whit.

However, exposure to Barry Manilow at high volumes may be able to vaporize the last few brain cells that are still holding on. We can only hope that this treatment will finally render them harmless.

FTC vs Microsoft Round 2 (2)

spahn (227384) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190693)

I remember a few years back that the FTC blocked microsoft from aquiring Intuit (those guys that make quicken, etc) because of features that Microsoft is now trying to include in XP. The FTC blocked that move because microsoft would then control a large portion of online money transactions.

Here we are in July 2001, and Microsoft has now written their own version of the Intuit features they wanted when the FTC blocked them from aquiring Intuit. It should go without saying that this move should be blocked again, but who knows what will happen this time around.

Re:What's disgusting... (2)

hillct (230132) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190694)

It's sad that consumers have turned a blind eye to the behavior of Microsoft in this regard but consumers are not to blame for the behavior of Microsoft.

The complaint is well articulated and although not as complete (detailed) as I'd expect - I'm not a lawyer so I don't know what's appropriate - it covers a wide range of issues which have been discussed on /. over the past 6 months. It's good that we have organizations like the EFF and EPIC to help consumers address this criminal corporate behavior but perhaps we have come to rely on these organizations to protect us - to a degree that isn't entirely healthy in so far as we (consumers) have not taken sufficient action ourselves. In that sense, perhaps the blame should fall - at least in part - on the consumers.

--CTH

Circular reasoning (2)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190700)

Essentially their argument is that they don't believe what MS says about XP, so MS must be lying.

Non-PDF Version (1)

Bonker (243350) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190702)

Before the
Federal Trade Commission
Washington, DC
In the Matter of )
)
Microsoft Corporation. )
_____________________________ )
Complaint and Request for Injunction, Request
For Investigation and for Other Relief
INTRODUCTION
1. This complaint concerns the privacy implications of the Microsoft XP operating
system that is expected to become the primary means of access for consumers in the
United States to the Internet. As is set forth in detail below, Microsoft has engaged, and is
engaging, in unfair and deceptive trade practices intended to profile, track, and monitor
millions of Internet users. Central to the scheme is a system of services, known
collectively as ?.NET,? which incorporate ?Passport,? ?Wallet,? and ?HailStorm? that are
designed to obtain personal information from consumers in the United States unfairly and
deceptively. The public interest requires the Commission to investigate these practices
and to enjoin Microsoft from violating Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act,
as alleged herein.
PARTIES
2. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (?EPIC?) is a non-profit, public interest
research organization incorporated in the District of Columbia. EPIC?s activities include
the review of government and private sector polices and practices to determine their
possible impact on the privacy interests of the American public. Among its other
activities, EPIC has prepared reports and presented testimony before Congress and
administrative agencies on the Internet and privacy issues.
C 2
3. The Center for Digital Democracy (?CDD?) is a non-profit organization that represents
the interests of citizens and consumers with respect to new media technologies.
4. The Center for Media Education (?CME?) is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan
organization dedicated to creating a quality electronic media culture for children, their
families, and the community. CME's report "Web of Deception" (1996) first drew
attention to potentially harmful marketing and data collection practices targeted at
children on the Internet and laid the groundwork for the Children's Online Privacy
Protection Act.
5. Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (?CPSR?) is a public-interest
alliance of computer scientists and others concerned about the impact of computer
technology on society
6. Consumer Action is a 30 year-old, San Francisco-based non-profit education and
advocacy organization. It works on a wide range of consumer and privacy issues in
conjunction with its national network of 6,500 community-based organizations.
6?. The Consumer Federation of America ("CFA") is a non-profit association organized
in 1967 to advance the interests of consumers through advocacy and education. CFA's
current membership is comprised of over 280 national, state, and local consumer groups
throughout the United States, which, in turn represent more than 50 million consumers.
7. The Consumer Task Force for Automotive Issues (?CTFAI?) was co-founded by Ralph
Nader and Remar Suttton. CTFAI monitors auto fraud activities for consumer
groups, attorneys general, and plaintiff firms. CTFAI has particular interest in consumer
privacy since using the Internet is a common practice for consumers looking for
information on cars and loan.
8. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (?EFF?) is a non-profit organization based in San
Francisco, California. EFF is a donor-supported membership organization working to
protect our fundamental rights regardless of technology; to educate the press,
policymakers and the general public about civil liberties issues related to technology; and
to act as a defender of those liberties.
9. Junkbusters is a privacy advocacy and consulting company based in New Jersey
and incorporated in Delaware.
10. The Media Access Project (?MAP?) is a non-profit, public interest law firm
C 3
that promotes the public?s First Amendment right to hear and be heard on the electronic
media of today and tomorrow.
11. NetAction is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that promotes use of the
Internet for grassroots citizen action, and educates policy makers on technology policy. In
1997, NetAction launched a campaign that mobilized Internet users to pressure the
Justice Department to enforce antitrust laws against Microsoft.
12. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (?PRC?) is a nonprofit consumer information and
advocacy program based in San Diego, California.
13. U.S. Public Interest Research Group (?USPIRG?) serves as the national association of
state PIRGs, which are independent, non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organizations
around the country. U.S. PIRG and the state PIRGs have a long-standing interest in data
privacy and data protection and have published a series of reports on privacy-related
topics, including identity theft.
14. Microsoft Corporation (?Microsoft?) was founded as a partnership in 1975 and
incorporated in the State of Washington in 1981. Microsoft develops, manufactures,
licenses, and supports a wide range of software products for a variety of computing
devices. Microsoft?s principal place of business is One Microsoft Way, Redmond,
Washington 98052-6399. At all times material to this complaint, Microsoft?s course of
business, including the acts and practices alleged herein, has been and is in or affecting
commerce, as ?commerce? is defined in Section 4 of the Federal Trade Commission Act,
15 U.S.C. 44.
15. EPIC, CDD, CME, CPSR, Consumer Action, CFA, CTFAI, EFF, Junkbusters, MAP,
NetAction, PRC, and USPIRG bring this complaint against Microsoft alleging unfair and
deceptive trade practices under Section 5 of the FTC Act.
16. The complainants reserve the right to amend this complaint as new facts emerge
regarding this matter.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PRIVACY PROTECTION
17. The right of privacy is a personal and fundamental right in the United States. The
privacy of an individual is directly implicated by the collection, use, and dissemination of
personal information. The opportunities for an individual to secure employment,
C 4
insurance, and credit, to obtain medical services, and the rights of due process may be
jeopardized by the misuse of certain personal information.
18. Privacy law in the United States has by tradition protected the privacy of consumer in
the offering of new commercial services enabled by new technologies. For example, the
Cable Act of 1984 protects the privacy of cable subscriber records created in connection
with interactive television services. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986
protects the privacy of electronic mail transmitted over the Internet. The Video Privacy
Protection Act of 1988 protects the privacy of rental record for video recordings of
commercial programs made available to the public for home viewing. The medical
privacy regulations mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
establish safeguards for the delivery of medical information in electronic formats.
19. The vast majority of Americans are today ?concerned? or ?very concerned? about the
loss of privacy particularly with regard to commercial transactions that take place over
the Internet. One poll has indicated that the ?loss of personal privacy? is the number one
concern facing the United States in the twenty-first century. A recent poll shows that
Americans favor government action to safeguard online privacy. Another recent poll
indicates that the ability to remain anonymous online is supported by both Internet
experts and ordinary Internet users.
20. The Federal Trade Commission has played a significant role in the last several years
investigating and prosecuting violations of section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission
Act where the privacy interests of Internet users are at issue.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
Background
21. Microsoft is the largest computer software company in the world. Microsoft?s
customers include consumers, small and medium-sized organizations, enterprises,
educational institutions, Internet Service Providers, and application developers. Most
consumers of Microsoft products are individuals in businesses, government agencies,
educational institutions, and at home.1 The Microsoft operating system is used by more
Internet users than any other operating system in the world. Microsoft?s database of
1 Microsoft Corporation Form 10-K for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2000.
C 5
Passport users is the largest commercial database of Internet users. At present there are
more than 100 million users.2
22. Microsoft?s Internet business activities include the MSN network of Internet products
and services and alliances with companies involved with broadband access and various
forms of digital interactivity.3 Microsoft?s online properties include MSN Internet
Access, MSN Hotmail, MSN Messenger Service, WebTV Networks, Microsoft CarPoint,
Microsoft Home Advisor, Expedia, Inc., MSN MoneyCentral and MSNBC.4
23. The far-reaching and inter-connected nature of Microsoft?s Internet business activities
provides a unique potential for the collection, sharing and use of personal information
concerning the users of its various properties. This potential to track, profile, and
monitor users of the Internet has far-reaching and profound implications for privacy
protection in general and in particular with regard to the growth of electronic commerce.
24. As is set forth in detail below, Microsoft has developed technical capabilities and
business practices that facilitate such tracking, profiling, and monitoring in an
unprecedented manner. As a direct result of these capabilities and business practices,
Internet users who seek to engage in online commerce will routinely disclose to
Microsoft virtually all aspects of their private transactions with other merchants.
25. Internet users will also be confronted with a confusing labyrinth of inter-connected
Microsoft websites that collect and share their personal data. Consumer confusion is
exacerbated by the misleading registration practices, incoherent privacy policies, and
covert data sharing arrangements that are intended to facilitate the collection of personal
information from consumers by Microsoft while simultaneously making it difficult if not
impracticable for consumers to exercise control over their personal information.
26. When viewed both in its entirety and in terms of specific business practices outlined
below, and considering the extraordinary market dominance enjoyed by Microsoft, the
collection and use of personal information within the Microsoft network under Windows
XP and with the associated .NET services constitutes a series of unfair and deceptive
trade practices.
2 New York Times, July 26, at C4.
3 Microsoft Corporation Form 10-K for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2000.
4 Id.
C 6
Windows XP Impact on Consumer Profiling
27. With the release of the new operating system Windows XP and its associated
services, Microsoft will transform the process for the collection and use of personal
information on American consumers who engage in electronic commerce on the Internet.
Personal information associated with commerce, such as credit card numbers, has
traditionally resided under the personal control of the individual consumer. Such
information is typically disclosed in the context of a particular transaction for a particular
purpose to a particular merchant. With the release of Windows XP, Microsoft proposes to
move the locus of control away from the end user to Microsoft. Although it is described
by Microsoft as a ?user-centric,? the Windows XP architecture is more accurately
described as ?Microsoft-centric.?
28. The Microsoft Passport is a user authentication standard that will enable Microsoft to
collect personal information from consumers and disclose that information to Microsoft
partners and others. It makes Microsoft the central repository for routine information for
commercial transactions, as well as personal facts such as birthdates and anniversaries.
29. The HailStorm platform will enable the widespread exchange of personal information
among Microsoft business partners. It is intended to exchange the rapid exchange of a
wide range of personal information set out in more detail below.
30. Microsoft privacy practices will have a profound impact on American consumers.
According to Microsoft, the Hotmail web-based e-mail service, MSN, Microsoft.com,
and Passport, are among the ten largest Web sites in the world.5
31. Microsoft is currently testing the Windows XP operating system. Several questions
have already been raised about certain proposed features of XP that may disadvantage
competing products, services and standards provided by Microsoft?s competitors.
32. The Windows XP system is expected to be finalized later this year and then sold to
consumers.
33. The Federal Trade Commission is the primary federal agency responsible for
investigating and prohibiting ?unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce;
and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.?
5 Hailstorm White Paper, http://www.microsoft.com/net/hailstorm.asp.
C 7
A. Passport
34. According to Microsoft, ?Microsoft Passport allows consumers to create a
single sign-in, registration, and electronic wallet that can be shared between all of
the sites that support Microsoft Passport.?6
35. The information that may be stored in the Microsoft Passport includes ?real
name,? country/region, state, city/locale, gender, age, occupation, marital status,
e-mail, personal statement, hobbies and interest, favorite quote, favorite things
(?Name your favorite books, artists, places, gizmos, or gadgets?), a personal
photo (?include a photo of yourself, a loved one, or a favorite place, thing or
pet?), a home page, options to routinely disclose the Public Profile in MSN chat
rooms, and to be notified of future features, as well as whatever additional data
Microsoft eventually chooses to request for the Public Profile.
36. The information maintained in the Passport Public Profile is under the ?user
control? in the sense that the user may choose not to provide certain information
or to prevent certain information from being routinely disclosed, but the Profile is
also very much under the control of Microsoft in the sense that the information is
physically in the possession of Microsoft and may be obtained by Microsoft
whether or not the user chooses to make the personal information public. Further,
many of the practices described below demonstrate how Microsoft through the
XP Registration procedures, access to MSN, use of Hotmail, and use of new
services such as e-books seeks to obtain from the consumer detailed information
for the Passport system.
37. The Microsoft Passport Privacy Policy contains a section entitled ?Participating Sites?
Commitment to Privacy.? The title of this section reasonably would lead a consumer to
believe what the heading implies; that sites that participate in Microsoft Passport have a
commitment to protect users? privacy. However, the section only contains one
requirement for participating websites; ?All Web sites participating in the Passport
program must have a posted privacy policy.? Nothing is said regarding what level of
protection that policy must provide. This section, with its deceptive title, is likely to
promote consumer confidence in Passport by instilling the mistaken impression that
participating websites will protect their personal information.
6 Microsoft Corporation Form 10-K for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2000.
C 8
38. The Windows XP operating system leaves the user with little choice but to employ
Passport. As soon as the user starts a computer and uses a modem, a dialog box appears
on the screen stating: ?You?ve just connected to the Internet. You need a Passport to use
Windows XP Internet communications features (such as instant messaging, voice chat
and video), and to access Net-enabled features. Click here to set up your Passport.?
39. The collection and use of detailed personal information in this fashion constitutes an
unfair and deceptive trade practice.
B. HailStorm
40. HailStorm is a software based means to transfer personal information contained in the
Microsoft Passport, as well as a host of other information, across any operating system,
platform, or device. Microsoft lists an extraordinary range of consumer information that
will be collected and subsequently disclosed by means of HailStorm. This information
includes a person?s home telephone number, office telephone number, fax number, home
address, business address, and geographic locations; a person?s actual name, nickname,
birthdate, anniversary, other special dates, and personal photograph; a complete list of all
names of all contacts contained in an electronic datebook, including names, addresses,
contact dates, and personal details for all friends and associates; information concerning
location and contact information; all forms of incoming mail, including voicemail,
electronic mail, and fax mail; tracking information; personal and business documents;
favorite websites and other identifiers; receipts, payment instruments, coupons and other
transaction records, devices settings and capabilities across all platforms, including PC,
PDA, and telephones; and detailed usage reports for each one of these services.7
41. Microsoft represents that when using HailStorm, the ?user owns the data? that he or
she enters into Passport. HailStorm will, according to Microsoft, ?put people in control
of their own data,? because ?HailStorm starts with the assumption that the user controls
all personal information and gets to decide with whom to share any of it and under what
terms.?8
42. Despite these broad representations, the control that users will ultimately have over
the extensive collection of their personal information within the HailStorm system will be
subject to the vagaries of Microsoft?s business model.
7 Hailstorm White Paper, http://www.microsoft.com/net/hailstorm.asp.
8 Microsoft Corporation Form 10-K for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2000
C 9
43. Microsoft states that it ?intends to contractually bind licensees to specific terms of
use that control what can and cannot be done with user data originating from a HailStorm
source.? Microsoft has made its intention clear, stating that it ?will operate HailStorm as
a business.? In Microsoft?s HailStorm business model, ?end users will be the primary
source of revenue to Microsoft.?9
44. To use Windows XP, consumers will be unfairly led to believe that they need a
Microsoft Passport. Passport is the ?basic user credential? of Hailstorm. Although
Microsoft claims the ?users own their information? and that consumers will control the
use of that information, Microsoft will charge consumers to relay this vast amount of
individually identifiable information, ranging from their home addresses to the
documents stored on their computers. Microsoft will also charge recipients to use the
information.
45. As a result of these practices, Microsoft will essentially provide consumers the
?right? to buy some limited level of ?control? over the use of their own personal
information outside of Microsoft, despite the fact that the consumer has no meaningful or
effective control over the use of that information within Microsoft. Additionally, in
reference to third parties, consumers? control of their own information exists only so long
as the consumers? desires fit within the framework of Microsoft?s intent to ?contractually
bind licensees? regarding the use which they can and cannot make of this information.
46. Microsoft?s Windows XP / Passport / HailStorm business model constitutes both an
unfair and a deceptive trade practice when considered in its entirety.
Misleading Product Activation and Registration Procedures
47. Microsoft represents to consumers that the product activation feature included in the
new Windows XP operating system and its software suite Office XP will not combine the
information gathered in the activation?s hardware sweep with personally identifiable
information. Information at the Microsoft website states:
Microsoft Product Activation is completely anonymous, and no personally
identifiable information is collected.
9 Id.
C 10
48. However, Microsoft then goes on to say:
Activation is different from product registration. If they wish, customers
may voluntarily register their product by providing their name and contact
information. Registration is for those customers who want to receive
future communications on product updates, service releases and other
special offers.10
49. Microsoft also claims that product registration, which requires personally identifiable
information, is voluntary. However, users cannot receive support services for products
without registering for Microsoft Passport. The user?s product identification number is
then linked to his or her personally identifiable Passport information. Information posted
by Microsoft states:
Using the Online Support sites secured by Passport is easy. Passport
provides secure authentication ensuring that your support interactions and
all data exchanged with Microsoft is secure and private. To establish your
own private and secure personalized support web page where you can
interact with our award-winning Microsoft Support Professionals, first
time users will need to (1) sign-up for Passport or sign-in to Passport and
(2) complete a profile.
In order to identify the type of support you are entitled to, this system may
automatically determine your product identification number. This number
is required to receive support from Microsoft.11
50. Through product activation and registration, Microsoft can actually match users to
their machines. Although Microsoft represents to users that the product activation
process preserves anonymity, users cannot receive software support anonymously for the
product that they activate and are forced to register for Microsoft Passport.
51. This practice constitutes an unfair and deceptive trade practice.
10 Software Piracy on PressPass,
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/newsroom/pira cy /productactivationfaq.asp
11 http://servicedesk.one.microsoft.com/WRPublic/en/C onsent.asp
C 11
Hotmail Service Tracks Users
52. Hotmail is an email service offered by Microsoft.
53. Users of Hotmail email service are required to create Passport accounts, using the
personal information they provided to sign up with Hotmail. No notice is provided to
Hotmail users that they are being given Passport accounts, nor does the Hotmail website
contain an opt-out feature. When Hotmail users login to Hotmail, they are simultaneously
logged-in to the Passport system.
54. Passport will track Hotmail users as they visit other MSN sites, and provide users?
personal information to those sites, unless the users click on a small ?Sign-Out? button on
the page each time they wish to move to a different MSN site. Hotmail?s privacy policy
states in part:
Your non-personally identifiable information from your Hotmail
registration (such as zip code and gender) may be shared with other
Microsoft websites to provide a more personalized advertising experience
online. For example, you may see ads from a Microsoft
bCentral/LinkExchange Banner Network member as you surf the Web but
none of your personally identifiable information is shared with the third
party websites.12
55. Passport tracks the behavior and divulges the personal information of Hotmail
customers who neither have been notified of their Passport accounts, nor have granted
permission for such use of their information. If a user visits the MSN homepage, a
Passport ?Sign-in? button will appear. If the user who did not come from Hotmail or
another MSN site clicks this button, information on Passport will appear, along with an
invitation to join the Passport system. However, if a Hotmail user who did not click the
Passport ?Sign-Out? button before exiting Hotmail visits the MSN homepage and clicks
the same button, the MSN page will reload, with a message greeting the user by name.
56. This practice constitutes an unfair and deceptive trade practice.
12 Hotmail MSN Hotmail Privacy Statement, http://lc1.law5.hotmail.passport.com/cgibin/
dasp/hminfo_shell.asp?content=pstate
C 12
Kids Passport Captures Data from Parents for Unrelated Services
57. Microsoft makes the following representations regarding the Kid?s Passport service,
which enables the collection of information on children under the age of 13 that will be
subsequently disclosed to Microsoft partners and other entities operating on the Internet.
Microsoft Kids Passport allows parents to consent to the collection, use
and sharing of their children?s information with Microsoft and the sites
and services operated by or for Microsoft (including MSN) and with
participating Passport Web sites that have agreed to utilize Kids Passport
as their parental consent process. (emphasis added) . . .
All of these sites [participating passport websites] agree to have a posted
privacy statement describing how they use personal information collected
by their website. . . .
It is important for you to read the Privacy Statement and Terms of Use for
each website you are consenting for your child to visit and use.13
58. The Kids Passport privacy policy only requires one parental verification process.
Participating Passport websites will not have to obtain ?verifiable parental consent? if the
user enters the site through Kids Passport because the participating websites will have
already agreed to utilize Kids Passport as their parental consent process. Thus if a
participating website changes its existing privacy policy after the parent has gone through
the verification process and the changed policy conflicts with the parent?s level of
consent, the participating site will not have to obtain parental consent a second time. The
burden will be on the parent to ensure that his/her consent level is consistent with
participating websites? privacy policies at all times.
59. Even if the privacy policies of participating Passport websites contradict or provide
less protection than Passport?s privacy policy, the participating Passport websites?
policies will govern over Passport?s privacy policy. Hence, the parent is effectively
required to read all participating Passport websites? privacy policies before providing
parental consent in the first instance for Kids Passport
13 Microsoft Passport: Privacy Statement,
http://www.passport.com/Consumer/PrivacyPolicy.a sp ?PPlcid=1033
C 13
60. The design of Kids Passport further requires parents to review the privacy policies of
participating websites on an ongoing basis to make sure that websites have not altered
their privacy policies in a manner that conflicts with the parents? desired level of consent.
61. Parents are required to establish their own Microsoft Passport accounts in order to
register their children with Kids Passport. Microsoft does not provide parents with any
other means of registering their children with Kids Passport.
62. Microsoft?s practice of requiring parents to register for Passport in order to register
their children for Kids Passport is a deceptive practice. It enables further collection of
personal information by Microsoft for purposes unrelated to the use of Kids Passport.
Further, by requiring parents to verify their consent through credit card validation,
Microsoft automatically creates a Passport Wallet for the parents, where their credit card
information will be held.
63. These practices constitute unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Covert Sharing of Passport Information within the MSN Network
and Conflicting Privacy Standards within the MSN Network
64. Microsoft Passport facilitates greater access by Microsoft affiliates within the MSN
network to personal information of computer users. Microsoft represents that
When you sign in to any area of MSN (and don?t sign out) and you visit
any other area of MSN, you will be automatically signed in . . . [and] your
Passport information (excluding your wallet information) will
automatically be shared with each area in MSN that you visit.
65. While facilitating the broad sharing of personal data, Microsoft makes it difficult, if
not impossible, for users effectively to protect their privacy within the MSN Network
because the various components offer contradictory and conflicting privacy policies.
Thus, Microsoft advises users that ?when you choose to visit the various areas of MSN . .
. you are subject to their specific terms of use and privacy policies.?14
66. Microsoft?s collection and sharing of personal data under this procedure within its
network constitutes an unfair and deceptive trade practice.
14 Id.
C 14
The Flawed Microsoft Passport Privacy Policy
67. The Microsoft Passport Privacy Policy states that, ?[y]ou are in complete control of
which web sites receive the Personal Information in your Passport profile and Passport
wallet ? Microsoft will not share, sell, or use your Personal Information in any way not
described in this privacy statement without your consent.?15
68. Participating web sites are not required to abide by the same information collection
practices as purportedly apply to the Microsoft Passport services, and such sites can
apparently share, sell, or use personal information in a manner not explicitly provided for
in the Passport Privacy Policy.
69. Buy.com, a shopping site accessible through the Passport service16 reserves the right
?to share [customers?] personally identifiable information with third parties who provide
services to us, our customers and web site visitors ? includ[ing] authorized contractors,
temporary employees and consultants and other companies working with us.?17 Further,
customers of Buy.com who then wish to shop at other sites associated with that company
(part of its ?Partner Center?) are subject to entirely different privacy protections once
again.
70. Participating web sites are not required to meet even basic industry standards of
privacy protection to participate in Passport services. Microsoft only requires that
participating web sites have ?a posted privacy statement.?
71. Customers, assured by Microsoft that information in their Passport profile is protected
according the principles of the Passport Privacy Policy, will reasonably assume that sites
associated with Passport will offer the same protections, and share personal information
they otherwise would not share.
72. The Microsoft Passport Privacy Policy unfairly and deceptively leads consumers to
believe that websites participating in Passport will abide by the same privacy practices as
Passport itself.
15 Id.
16 Microsoft Passport - Site Directory, http://www.passport.com/Directory/Default.asp
17 http://www.us.buy.com/corp/privacy_policy_complete .asp
C 15
Harvesting of email addresses and Profiling of Users
73. The Passport service is intended to give Microsoft the ability to send unsolicited
commercial email to Internet users and to profile their activities.
74. Microsoft obtains a user?s email address and discloses that personal information to
other Microsoft web sites whether or not the user intends to visit those sites or if there is
any need for the address to be collected by those sites. According to Microsoft:
Creating a Passport --- . . . Your email address is required to create a
Passport and it will be shared with Microsoft and its web sites . . . 18
75. Microsoft retains the right to disclose email addresses obtained by Passport to enable
unsolicited commercial email by web sites participating in the Passport network:
If in the future Passport sends email on behalf of participating web sites,
you will be able to follow instructions contained in the email to choose
whether or not you?d like to receive additional email.19
76. There appears to be no means by which users currently can limit the exchange of their
email addresses with the Microsoft Network and no limitations on the unsolicited
commercial email that may result from the collection of email addresses in this fashion.
77. Passport facilitates the profiling of Internet users by enabling the collection of
personal information. According to Microsoft:
The site may store the profile and wallet information sent to it during this
process in their database.20
78. These practices constitute unfair and deceptive trade practices.
18 Microsoft Passport: Privacy Statement,
http://www.passport.com/Consumer/PrivacyPolicy.a sp ?PPlcid=1033
19 Id.
20 Id.
C 16
Known Defects in Passport Design
79. Microsoft is aware of significant risks that users will have their personal information,
including their credit card numbers, disclosed to others when the Passport service is used
at a shared or public terminal, which could include a computer in a library, community
center, workplace, or airport lounge. Microsoft advises:
You should always sign out of Passport when you are finished browsing
the web to ensure that others cannot access your Passport profile or
wallet.21
80. Microsoft is also aware of significant risks that users will inadvertently disclose
personal information when they surf the web using the Passport service.
It is important for you to read the privacy statement and terms of use for
each site you visit to ensure you are comfortable with how they might use
your personal information.22
81. Internet users are routinely unaware of web site privacy statements. According to one
recent study, 41% of users report that they never or hardly ever read privacy statements
online.
82. The failure to establish adequate security standards to ensue that personal information
within the control of Microsoft, such as a credit card number, is not inadvertently
disclosed to a third party is an unfair and deceptive trade practice.
Failure to Warn of Passport Security Flaws
83. Microsoft has a history of privacy and security failures that is inconsistent with its
claim that ?Any information provided to Microsoft remains secure and private.?23
84. For example, in August 1999, when Passport was combined with Hotmail, a defect
was discovered in Hotmail that allowed ?anyone to read the private correspondence of
21 Id.
22 Id.
23 Id.
C 17
about 50 million subscribers.?24 In February 1999, Microsoft was found to be quietly
creating ?a vast data base of personal information about computer users.?25 The online
privacy seal organization TRUSTe subsequently found that Microsoft had compromised
?consumer trust and privacy.? Defects in Microsoft?s software are routinely discovered
that allow intruders unauthorized access to files, most recently a defect in Microsoft?s IIS
Web server software that has allows the ?Code Red? virus to compromise an estimated
300,000 computers, including some of Microsoft?s own servers.26
85. Microsoft?s failure to disclose the actual risks associated with the collection and use
of personal information in the Passport service constitutes an unfair and deceptive trade
practice.
Leading Industry Experts Have Expressed Concern about the
Privacy Implication of Windows XP and the HailStorm Services
86. Walter S. Mossberg is a widely regarded commentator on the computer industry who
writes a regular column for the Wall Street Journal. On July 5, 2001 (?Microsoft Cracks
Down On Sharing Windows XP?) Mr. Mossberg examined the product activation
procedure for Windows XP and noted that:
Windows will keep monitoring your setup to check that it?s still running
on the same machine. If you make major hardware changes, the system
could disable Windows and force you to check in with Microsoft in the
mistaken belief the program has been transferred to another computer.
One journalist reported that his copy of Office XP suddenly went into
?reduced functionality mode? and insisted he activate again while he was
using it on an airplane.
87. Mr. Mossberg concluded:
Microsoft has chosen a method of enforcing its policy that smacks of an
invasion of privacy. The company says its database of PC configurations
won?t contain any personal information, and will be encrypted so that
24 Wired News at http://www.wired.com/news/news/business/story/2149 0.htm.
25 New York Times, March 3, 1999.
26 ??Code Red? Worm Rearing to Attack on Net,? ZDNet News, July 21, 2001,
http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,50 94 428,00.html.
C 18
nobody can misuse it. But Microsoft?s bully-boy behavior in the
marketplace hardly inspires confidence that it won?t somehow exploit this
information.
88. Stewart Alsop is a widely regarded commentator on the computer industry who writes
a regular column for Fortune Magazine. In an article for Fortune on July 23, 2001
(?Monopoly Has Just Begun Insidiously, incrementally, Microsoft is getting more and
more of me. That has me worried.?) Mr. Alsop examined the impact on Windows XP on
consumer privacy. He found, for example, that when he tried to take advantage of a new
consumer product, the ?e-book,? offered by a non-Microsoft company he was required to
go through the Microsoft Passport registration procedure.
I decided to buy the e-book, but Microsoft forced me to register with its
Passport service to activate Reader. The ostensible reason is that Microsoft
keeps track of the digital rights to each copy of the book.
89. He had a similar experience when he attempted to download a new software product.
Based on his experience with these two products, Mr. Alsop observed:
Microsoft is going to collect more and more information about what I buy
and what I do. I don?t really have a choice. It is very nearly impossible to
use any computer without using Microsoft?s software, and increasingly
that means that it is very nearly impossible to avoid handing over your
personal information to the company.
And this situation is just going to get worse, because Microsoft does have
a monopoly, and it is using that monopoly to aggressively expand its
dominance of computers--personal computers, office servers, handheld
computers, even set-top boxes--and its dominance of the Web and Web
services delivered through its Internet Explorer browser.
90. Mr. Alsop concludes:
This gets to the heart of why I?m really starting to worry. Microsoft is
encroaching on the consumer side, increasingly using its position between
us and every computer to make sure that it has the data to know who we
are and what we?re buying.
C 19
91. Esther Dyson is a widely regarded computer industry expert and chairman of
EDVenture Holding. Regarding the privacy implications of the practices described
herein, Ms. Dyson said to the Industry Standard, a leading industry magazine:
I don?t want the government, or Microsoft, asking me for my ID.
I find it kind of amazing. You sit and think, ?Can they actually do this? Is it
believable?? One hopes not.
REQUEST FOR RELIEF
Wherefore, the Complainants request that the Commission:
A. Initiate an investigation into the information collection practices of Microsoft
through Passport and associated services;
B. Order Microsoft to revise the XP registration procedures so that purchasers of
Microsoft XP are clearly informed that they need not register for Passport to
obtain access to the Internet;
C. Order Microsoft to block the sharing of personal information among Microsoft
areas provided by a user under the Passport registration procedures absent explicit
consent;
D. Order Microsoft to incorporate techniques for anonymity and pseudo-anonymity
that would allow users of Windows XP to gain access to Microsoft web sites
without disclosing their actual identity
E. Order Microsoft to incorporate techniques that would enable users of Windows
XP to easily integrate services provided by non-Microsoft companies for online
payment, electronic commerce, and other Internet-based commercial activity; and
F. Provide such other relief as the Commission finds necessary to redress injury to
consumers resulting from Microsoft?s practices as described herein.
C 20
Respectfully Submitted,
Marc Rotenberg David L. Sobel
Executive Director General Counsel
ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER
1718 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 483-1140
July 26, 2001

Re:Heres the scary part (1)

spookyfluke (254600) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190706)

The quote is a little mis-leading. I think it means you can't use MS stuff like MSN messenger without a passport. You can still ICQ net via your own ISP no doubt.
--

And my favourite part of this article... (2)

doug363 (256267) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190707)

From the PDF file:
To establish your own private and secure personalized support web page where you can interact with our award-winning Microsoft Support professionals, first time users will need to (1) sign-up for Passport or sign-in to Passport and (2) complete a profile.

My question here is, when were Microsoft's support professionals ever award-winning? Awards for most useless perhaps? I'm sorry, but I've heard nothing particularly good said about Microsoft tech support, except that if they really don't know the answer, they might not slug you with a $200 fee. Never mind that you've actually purchased the software and are a competent computer user or anything. (For anyone who hasn't read it, have a look at Microsoft Technical Support vs. the Psychic Friends Network [bmug.org] .)

Re:What's _really_ disgusting... (2)

Sarcasmooo! (267601) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190712)

Yeah really, damn those consumer advocates and their stylish conformity. Next thing you know we'll be getting our news from these rediculously self-righteous organizations; FTCNBC or some such nonsense. You know what else is disgusting? How it's become cool punish criminals, and 'vogue' to 'dis Nike sweatshops. Damn communists and their civil rights.

Re:So that makes you a hypocrite as well (2)

Sarcasmooo! (267601) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190713)

Just to nitpick, this would make for copyright infringement, not theft. You can't steal something by making a copy of it. If you were to find a car parked outside, make a replica of it, and drive off in the replica, could the owner of the original charge you with theft?

Re:misleading... (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190715)

I don't get this because I have Windows XP - I'm on their preview list and you know what- XP HAS NEVER ASKED ME FOR A PASSPORT PASSWORD! And I use it to browse the net all the time.

Re:Heres the scary part (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190716)

Its a load of baloney. I've been testing Windows XP over a DSL circut - I've even done XP product updates with it and it has never asked me for one passport password.

Re:Heres the scary part (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190717)

You should too...

Am I reading this correctly as MS not allowing an internet connection at all without a Passport?

Above was a question he had asked - and I had answered it to the best of my knowledge.

Re:Forget (momentarily) the Privacy Issues... (1)

garbuck (303365) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190718)

The larger concern is that XP will be shipped with full raw sockets.

And if MS were to ship XP with crippled sockets instead, then you'd be ragging on them for shipping a defective, inferior product, right?

Just as, if MS had failed to provide a scripting language for Windows and its apps, you would be drawing negative comparisons vs *nix in the area of scriptability. But, as we well know, MS has endowed Windows with fairly robust scripting capabilities and thereby created a whole new substrate for hacking -- e.g., Melissa, Sircam, etc. etc.

So, if Linux or some other flavor of *nix came with a decent desktop suite and an easy installer and finally caught on with the clueless masses, would you and Gibson then be whining about the dangers of placing its sockets in the hands of the ubiquitous laity?

The solution to the DDoS problem is to smarten up the routers, not to dumb down the desktops!

Your sig (1)

MikeyLikesIt! (313421) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190721)

Wouldn't "sin of the beast" make more sense?

Just a thought :-)

Re:What's disgusting... (2)

Calamere (318591) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190725)

I don't know about you but I don't vote with my dollars. I pirate all of the MS software I use.

All of it.

Re:What's disgusting... (1)

dslbrian (318993) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190726)

Agreed. Personally I have no intention of upgrading to Windows XP now or ever. Actually when you consider it, what earth-shattering thing is XP going to provide that you can't get someplace else?

I mean get real, .Net is like a cyber-bomb being primed to explode. There is a definite disconnect between what people perceive as bad and what is really bad. Y2K was a perceived disaster, yet anyone with a clue knew it was bogus. Now we have MS positioning itself to manage all data that passes between a user and the rest of the internet, yet the only time people start to notice is when some reporter has his laptop latch up on an airplane. I don't trust MS to take care of small things (like debugging their own code), much less big things (like managing all personal data needed to constitute identity theft).

Its a given by now that MS and security are mutually exclusive terms. Anyone who voluntarily dumps every bit of their personal info onto an IIS server sitting in a basement in Redmond is asking for whatever they get... To top it all off MS will certainly find ways to charge you for such a privilage. I'll pass on that. Been running dual-boot for a long time, yet when the apps I run on W98 become obsolete (prob years off) I'll be back to single-boot, and it won't be Windows...

Re:An embarrasment to MS's critics (1)

pardonne (324157) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190729)

> It will be the companies that pay for credit
> card fraud. We would get a ringside seat on
> VISA vs. Microsoft.

I vaguely recall reading here on Slashdot that in case of credit card fraud it is often the seller of the goods that is out the money. Also if somebody steals your SS#/identity, again from what I have read here today, you are the one who gets royally screwed.

Not that I am trying to disprove your main argument but I will be very surprised if Microsoft accepted all responsibility in case of break-ins to Passport and hacks of Hailstorm. There will probably be a small clause in the license agreement making the user repsonsible for everything.

Pardonne

Microsoft is Evil (1)

Richard M. Waite (338871) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190731)

Why don't we just tell them to fuck off? I know that may sound stupid but I'm serious, the longer people use M$'s products the more tax dollars will be spent on DOJ lawsuits and such. Instead of giving a crap about their business practices, people should just stop using their products. That in itself would put an end to their crummy little company. That is exactly what I did. I am 15 years old, probably one of the youngest /. posters you'll ever see and I began using Linux last year. Why? Because it pissed me off, to put it simply. I got tired of an OS that crashed because of stupid stuff (what could possibly cause IE to crash *before* it opens?). So I got myself Linux and learned how to use it. I distanced myself from anything M$, and I must say, my level of depression has gone down a *lot*.

It seems to me... (1)

Ballresin (398599) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190732)

..that Microsoft has sucessfully dug a very large hole for their very large Conglomerate selves. I wonder how many people (and companys) now will have the gaul to go up against Goliath now that the supply of stones and slings has grown significantly.

Now the question is, of course, who is David?
---

Re:Why do people think govt should manage OS's? (3)

bwhaley (410361) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190734)

If there was really a demand for a new OS someone would create one.
Umm.. Linux.. duh..

People are content with Windows.
What you mean is that people don't know anything other than Windows. In fact, most people don't even realize what Windows is. As a computer technician/support specialist, I often hear questions like "My Microsoft is broken" or "I have this screen that says 'Starting Windows 95'. I bought Microsoft, not Windows!" Additionally, I would venture that 40% of the problems I encounter have something to do with lock-ups, blue screens, or Windows errors. I am quite convinced that none of those users are content with this problem.

I don't think that any slashdotter thinks the government should "manage OS's." Rather, they want the rights of the consumers to be protected. Microsoft has a monopoly. In order to fix this monopoly they must be closely monitored or the will step on too many feet.

There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and BSD. We don't believe this to be a coincidence.

Windows Circumvention Device (3)

Hostile17 (415334) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190737)

I wonder when Microsoft is going to have Linux declared a Windows Circumvention Device and have Linus jailed under the DMCA.


Amazing!!! (1)

mandria (442627) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190738)

from the paper:


38. The Windows XP operating system leaves the user with little choice but to employ Passport. As soon as the user starts a computer and uses a modem, a dialog box appears on the screen stating: You ve just connected to the Internet. You need a Passport to use Windows XP Internet communications features (such as instant messaging, voice chat and video), and to access Net-enabled features. Click here to set up your Passport.

Imagine that. as soon as you try and dial up, winows will MAKE you -wether you like it or not- to sign up and get a passport. Talk about dictatorship.


another point:


44. To use Windows XP, consumers will be unfairly led to believe that they need a Microsoft Passport. Passport is the basic user credential of Hailstorm. Although Microsoft claims the users own their information and that consumers will control the use of that information, Microsoft will charge consumers to relay this vast amount of individually identifiable information, ranging from their home addresses to the documents stored on their computers. Microsoft will also charge recipients to use the information.


That's how you can make money. Charge people to give you their info, and charge those who want those info. Very smart. Why haven't i thought of that before.

Re:good. (1)

dunkerz (443211) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190740)

Perhaps /. should tack on an update to the story with that url? Indeed it's not the full story, but it's an overview anyway,

--

MS's Flawed Logic... (2)

IcebergSlim (450399) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190744)



From Microsoft's own description [microsoft.com] of Hailstorm: HailStorm also turns the industry debate over online privacy on its head. Instead of debating how much organizations can get away with with respect to an individual's information, HailStorm starts with the assumption that the user controls all personal information and gets to decide with whom to share any of it and under what terms. By putting people in control of their own data, HailStorm relies on an affirmative consent model as the way applications, services, and devices interact with users. The user owns the data. Any access to that data, any changes to that data, and any use of that data requires the explicit consent of the user.

This is flawed logic, in my opinion. None of that matters if, once you've given that information over to the other party (which is necessary to do to complete a transaction), they just turn around and sell it to someone else. Microsoft isn't "protecting" anything. They're just "holding" our data for us. The problem is that I don't trust Microsoft enough to hold ANYTHING of mine, much less something personal and important to me.

I'm sorry, but until Microsoft can secure their other, more trivial applications (as well as the not-so-trivial ones), there's no way in hell I'm going to give them a byte of my personal information. To me, it's just so incredibly obvious how dangerous something like this can grow to be. I'm not so concerned about someone hacking into my calendar; what frightens me is the possibility that medical records and tax information will ultimately start making its way towards Microsoft.

Given their past record on security, the government should disallow this on the grounds that it is a risk to public safety.


Re:good. (1)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190745)

An official complaint, finally. It had to happen some day :)

Word of this actually came out yesterday - I submitted this link [cnet.com] to /. last night - somehow it hasnt yet been accepted nor rejected. The article I cite is basically an overview of the complaint itself.

Re:good. (2)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190746)

That would be a good idea. Just as good would be allowing users to view back what we've submitted instead of just the time/date of submission, topic, and current status. Taht way someone can review previous submissions, and then copy&paste into a revised submission. Maybe I'll take a peek at the slashcode and see all that's involved.

Re:PDF file (1)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190747)

"The thing that angers me the most about Dmitri's imprisonment is how much actual work he had to do to break Adobe's so-called "secure solution"."

The thing that angers ME the most is the fact that he still hasn't had a bail hearing.

Re:The Beast of Redmond (1)

mrcherba (454696) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190748)

666 shows up 49 times in my registry. Hmm?? Of course this assumes that one follows a judeo-christian belief system? Which implies a religious monopoly??

Re:Why do people think govt should manage OS's? (1)

tsarina (456482) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190749)

First, many people don't know the extent of Microsoft's abuses. How many people do you think actually read this legalese? Or even Slashdot articles? Not that many people read even the insipid stories newspapers print! They put up with Windows out of ignorance. Second, many people have little choice. For instance, look at school districts. They get into Microsoft early, when it's not too malicious (as far as is known) and the situation worsens after each upgrade until it is intolerable! If they had the choice, I'm sure schools' would choose another OS, but by now they're too tangled in license agreements, procedure problems, and budget shortfalls to do so. The software itself fills a certain niche in the market, for those who don't need that much function, and that is why it is purchased. Super. But how many of these customers would change their mind if they knew their privacy was being violated to such an extent? That the software, instead of innocently doing its job, was also screwing with other parts of the computer without the customer's permission? I think they would care, if they could understand what Windows does.

This is Free Market (2)

tsarina (456482) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190750)

The whole point of the free market is the valuing of fair competition. If your product is awful, other companies will have something better and you'll go out of business. But if there is one huge company, who gets to the top with an OK product, but then their product becomes an abusive piece of junk, but the company still has the advantage of size, money, etc. to squash any small startups' competition (with ads, propaganda, legions of lawyers, etc.), obviously the free market doesn't work then! The customer must buy a dumb product, without choice! In monopoly cases, the government must get involved for the very benefit of the free market!

Re:misleading... (1)

Saeger (456549) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190751)

Passport may "suck," but for MOST people, the convenience of a single sign-on will far outweigh the downside of allowing MS centralized control of such a system (in the beginning at least).

What other viable, non-vapor authentication alternatives are there that would offer the same seemless convenience, and that don't need "monopoly leverage" to reach critical mass? Not many-XNS [xns.org] might have a slim chance.

Gatekeepers and keymasters...

What ARE you going to do? (1)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190753)

I think many users don't really know that there's another way. They call up Dell or Gateway and they get the Microsoft computer with Microsoft Office and MSN and they think that this is what a computer is. And that signing onto MSN and using Passport is how people use the internet. How else do you do it? With XP, Microsoft intends to make this implicit link stronger and more pervasive.

You can't blame people for not buying microsoft products because they're not really given an opportunity to do so. The average (and even above-average) user cannot deal with the packages and patches, file-permissions and command-line interfaces that are intrinsic to Linux. More importantly, they don't want to deal with these things. Windows is still way ahead of Linux as far as usability. And then there are those who use Windows at work, and thus use it at home because they want to be able to bring work home. For a lot of people you can't walk away from MS because that would mean walking away from computers altogether. So if they shrug their shoulders and say "whatcha gonna do?" It's because they can't do anything. No one's presented them with a viable alternative.

But that's the point of this lawsuit, isn't it. Microsoft is using its pervasiveness to bully and steal information from its users.

Sweat

What's disgusting... (5)

Ulwarth (458420) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190755)

What's disgusting is that it ever came to this point. Most businesses play a game of trying to play "nice guy" while being as fiercely competative (including nasty underhanded tricks) as possible. In most cases, I think this results in a pretty good balance as far as bringing the consumer a good product while making successful companies gobs of cash.

I don't blame it on the government, or even on Microsoft. I blame it on us, the consumers. That we shrug our shoulders and say, "Eh, what are you gonna do" and keep straight down this path. Do we think that, someday, magically, they are going to stop doing this stuff? Of course not. As long as we keep voting with our dollars, they'll keep this sort of nonsense up.

Re:Why do people think govt should manage OS's? (1)

BlueFashoo (463325) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190756)

They did, it's called Linux. There are many distros, and you can probably pick one up at your local library. There's also MacOS, and FreeBSD, and several others.

Re:doubt it.. (1)

Derkec (463377) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190757)

I doubt it as well, but I don't see what the judiciary (not the FCC) allowing private organizations to discriminate against gays has to do with what happens with Microsoft here. Btw, I tend to agree with the legal findings in those cases and simply hope that those organizations change thier minds. And yes, some congressmen are obsessed with stopping flag burning - we elected them, deal with it. Cable merging is a semi-legit point. It's borderline monopolistic but I don't think the deal is set in stone yet, and without it being set in stone, I don't believe the FCC can step in and evaluate it.

Now, I'd like to see some justification for your final statements. Which people are blaming gays and lesbians for ruining the country? I think there might be 2% of the public who would say that. There are more who dissapprove.. but I won't go there. Privacy is pretty much shot, you're right there. There are efforts going on in congress to address this. Deal with your local congressmen. "No rights to freedom" - in the face of what people in other countries face, this is an insult. You can travel wherever you like (talk to the palestinians), you can worship freely (talk to half the world), you can get internet access and communicate political views freely. There are problems in our country, but damn it, we're doing alright. Starvation is pretty low, the government ain't killing lots of people and we are by enlarge rich. By this I mean our poverty line - while presenting MANY difficulties for the folks under it - is far above the average incomes in many countries. I know, I'm setting a low standard here, but I'm trying to show how bad things can be. Anyway, on the whole we're a pretty decent place to live. We do have many freedoms - including the right to leave the country and move somewhere else. Ug, how could you say we "have no rights to freedom"? Tell that to a Chinese dissident or a Sudanese Slave. Please explain your arguement or apologize.

Re:Heres the scary part (4)

Derkec (463377) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190760)

Doubt it. If Microsoft actually required Passport to use the internet, they would get into even deeper trouble. Instead they merely imply it. So if I'm a normal user, that's what I think and so I sign up for passport. If I'm a Microsoft lawyer, I happily do a demo by clicking no and then use the internet. Slimy is the appropriate word here. The goal here is to make everyone who isn't well informed choose yes and you all know what follows after that.

misleading... (4)

4n0nym0u53 C0w4rd (463592) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190761)

From the pdf:

The Windows XP operating system leaves the user with little choice but to employ Passport. As soon as the user starts a computer and uses a modem, a dialog box appears on the screen stating: "You've just connected to the Internet. You need a Passport to use Windows XP Internet communications features (such as instant messaging, voice chat and video), and to access Net-enabled features. Click here to set up your Passport."

Wow, this sounds as bad as This [slashdot.org] story from earlier. What the heck are "Net-enabled features" in this context? Reminds me of those lame ass banner ads that look like error messages "Click here to optimize your system." Or junk (snail) mail that is printed with a font to appear to be handwritten.

Marketing people are slime, they should all be forced to spend large amounts of time with John Tesh.

An embarrasment to MS's critics (4)

ednopantz (467288) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190764)

This thing is an embarrassment to Microsoft's many and often articulate critics.

The complaint charges that MS ties support to product registration. Yeah, so does my toaster warranty, and my VCR, and my TV, and my washer and dryer, etc.

It implies that users get tricked into signing up for Passport. Is a Passport registration necessary for non-MS Internet sites? If not, then what is the big fuss? It suggests you sign up; you tell it no, and that is it. None of this tracking seems to be mandatory if one doesn't choose to use their second rate online sites.

Their online sites monitor user activity and sell that information for marketing purposes. What "free" online service doesn't?
All of this stuff is in the various license click-throughs. At least they ask. Doubleclick never asked if they could profile me across the whole net.

On a side note, who doesn't lie when portals ask for personal information? I tell one I am a hog farmer, the next that I am an exotic dancer, etc.

So why is MS evil here again? Oh, that's right, that whole evil incarnate thing.

They complain that the product manufacturer requires registration as a condition of support, then they complain about a suggested Passport registration, then about practices standard in the portal industry, finally complaining about potential security problems at a largely non-functional MS mega-portal.

On that note, if security becomes a major problem at Hailstorm, it won't be the FTC that stops it. It will be the companies that pay for credit card fraud. We would get a ringside seat on VISA vs. Microsoft. I wonder who would win.

Re:What's _really_ disgusting... (3)

rhammack (471235) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190767)

Perhaps it's become "vogue" because there's so much to complain about....... And remember, if nobody complains, the chances of anything improving are pretty much nil. Micro$oft is in business to make $$$$, and will continue to engage in practices, deceptive and otherwise, which result in a net increase in $$$$. As consumers, we have an obligation to ourselves to provide feedback to indicate our dissatisfaction to microsoft by any means possible.
Just as an example, anyone who installs linux due to dissatisfaction with M$ software should notify Microsoft of the fact, and that they chose Linux over Microsoft due to: [insert list of reasons here]. At the very least, you can then proceed to bash microsoft (a favored pastime) with a completely clear conscience ;)
At best, if enough people prove to microsoft that they're actually <gasp> losing money!, there may be a slight chance of improvement. Case in point: Smarttags. If the outcry (and possible litigation) had not been so prevalent and widespread, It would still be slated for release in XP. Of course, they could just be waiting for a more favorable climate to release them;)
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