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EPIC Urges State AGs to Pursue Microsoft Passport

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the license-to-surf dept.

Privacy 244

An anonymous submitter sent: "The Electronic Privacy Information Center has sent a letter to all state attorneys general urging them to pursue Microsoft Passport under state consumer protection laws."

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

f1rst (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2918911)

f1rst tr011 p0st!!!

gee could it be (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2918913)

a frost pist for me?

Privacy? (1, Redundant)

Kris Warkentin (15136) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918929)

"You have no privacy. Get over it."
-Scott McNealy

It's a joke. Laugh. (4, Funny)

magicslax (532351) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918934)

Since its introduction, consumers using Passport and Windows have been exposed to two major Internet viruses...

...named Passport and Windows. ^_^

Re:It's a joke. Laugh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2918961)

joke () n.
1. Something said or done to evoke laughter or amusement at the expense of Microsoft

Customer's Information (2, Insightful)

jaavaaguru (261551) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918939)

I think we need a law that forces companies to have a large checkbox in their sign-up forms saying "I don't mind having my personal information sold to other companies". This should be un-checked by default. I'm sure some countries probably have this already.

Also I object to the way this Passport is being forced upon everyone. In the UK it seems to be rather unreliable. Several times this month, I have seen MSN messenger say "The .Net passport service is unavailable". Problems like this have also affected access to hotmail, although they tend to happen at 3am when the majority of hotmail users are probably not awake.

I am not proud of having an account with them as it make me one of those statistics showing how popular they are. If it (hotmail) had been run by MS when I signed up I would never have done it.

I'm glad I gave completely bogus details since I really object to having my personal information being spread around the way MS (and other large companies) do.

I would say "oh, leave them alone" if their Passport/.NET service was reliable, since I don't care if they sell my fake information.

Re:Customer's Information (1)

Beltec (548130) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918962)

And what really gets me is when ever I use outlook express, it boots up MSN messenger also, and at times it bugs me to sign up for passport even though I have disabled it.. They take people as being stupid.. If you cram it down their throats enough, they'll end up believing it...

Re:Customer's Information (4, Insightful)

gazbo (517111) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918978)

The real problem here is not that Passport is evil, but that they do not trust Microsoft to be the sole Passport providers, and to not do 'unreasonable' things with the data that they could potentially collect.

I recently went to a seminar with MS's senior systems architect (UK) talking about Passport (mainly .net though). He first said that the Passport protocol should be implementable by any provider who wants to provide this service, so it need not be Microsoft authenticating details.

Even if you do not believe this, he made an excellent demonstration of the problems of trust. A member of the audience (anti MS - he was heckling throughout the seminar) raised a similar concern. I paraphrase the conversation here:

Man: 'I don't trust MS's servers to keep my data safe and not abuse it'

MS: 'Well, whose servers do you trust'

Man: [thinks] 'Mine'

MS: 'Everybody raise their hands if you trust your data on this man's server'

I thought it was a nice example anyway.

Re:Customer's Information (2)

markmoss (301064) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919057)

I recently went to a seminar with MS's senior systems architect (UK) talking about Passport (mainly .net though). He first said that the Passport protocol should be implementable by any provider who wants to provide this service, so it need not be Microsoft authenticating details.

I'm sure MS would like that -- if the other servers paid MS big $$$ for the software. But the fundamental security problem isn't that MS is running the servers, but that the servers are running fundamentally insecure MS software.

Rather I dont mind being continualy requested... (1)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919009)

Like in MI they keep trying to pass a law that says we cant sue car insurance companies. They will just keep trying once a year until it passes... Same thing, from the second you turn on this OS, they start requesting your info. The more you do, the more things will request your info. Especially "tech support" whatever that is.

Re:Customer's Information (1)

an_mo (175299) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919019)

I think we need a law that forces companies to have a large checkbox in their sign-up forms saying "I don't mind having my personal information sold to other companies". This should be un-checked by default. I'm sure some countries probably have this already.
Yes several countries in Europe have this already. The problem is, if you don't check that box you ain't gonna get the service. So this remedy is not a right to privacy, but a right to inform you you don't have it.

My opinion is that there can't be a complete legislative solution. If enough people care about these things, a market solution will emerge (i.e. a company will offer privacy-friendly services - for a fee). I don't think enough people care though, I don't think the /. crowd is very representative of the us population.

Re:Customer's Information (4, Interesting)

at_18 (224304) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919172)

Yes several countries in Europe have this already. The problem is, if you don't check that box you ain't gonna get the service. So this remedy is not a right to privacy, but a right to inform you you don't have it.

Well, this is not correct. In at least one country (Italy), the law acts in a way that you have TWO separate agreements: one for the service, and one for spreading out your personal data. Both have the "no" option checked by default.

You have to check on the first "yes" to have the service activated, and nothing else. Checking the second "yes" will grant permission to the service provider to use your data for ads, statistics etc. Using your data without this specific agreement can cause big penalties for the companies.

Everything is explained on every form, and it's so common that everyone knows that they must check only the first answer.

Get a Screen Life !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919222)

I don't know.

Get a full Screen Life (I'm Mariah@hotmail.com, 57, blond, loving gardening and leather sex), and always use the same.

Never Use your passport to order anything.
Just remember who you are...

Data Protection Act in the UK (4, Informative)

Manic Miner (81246) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919070)

" I think we need a law that forces companies to have a large checkbox in their sign-up forms saying "I don't mind having my personal information sold to other companies". This should be un-checked by default. I'm sure some countries probably have this already. "

As you are from the UK, you might be interested in the things covered by the Data Protection Act (DPA). The DPA can be used in the UK to protect yourself from people misusing your personal information. A quick guide can be found here [dataprotection.gov.uk] Companies can be quized as to how they use the information and what information they hold on you. For as little as £10

In addition you have the right to sue the company for any loss resulting from faulty information they use, and you can have data removed / corrected as approriate (see here [dataprotection.gov.uk] for details)

As passport is based in the US I'm doubt you have any rights covered by this act (although you might as they are providing the service in this country). However I think this is a step in the right direction, in the UK this covers most companies and data including credit ratings. This is a brilliant set forward and offers hope to all those people who are screwed because of faulty information, or just pissed off with companies sending them letters ;)

For certain types "sensitive" of information a company will have to get your explicit permission before using your information eg. race, religion etc.

I am intending to write to the Information Commisioner to ask about Microsofts information gathering activities in this country and if they can be stopped / modified to ensure that they conform to the DPA. Maybe if enough people do this we can get a result for the UK.

Re:Data Protection Act in the UK (2)

King Of Chat (469438) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919363)

(Technically this is redundant as I've posted similar on /. before)

One of the consequences of the DPA is that it makes it illegal for any company to export any person's details outside of the EU without their written permission. Since it's difficult to know where, physically, these servers are and where they might be replicating the information, this could lead to trouble. It's almost tempting to get a passport account and then try and sue them.

Re:Customer's Information (4, Interesting)

reemul (1554) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919213)

What I'd like is some 'Personal Privacy License' to be drawn up. It would lay out in extremely explicit and legally binding terms the permitted usages of a given person's data. When I go to a website using the license, it is formally acknowledged that I'm not *giving* the site my data, I am instead *licensing* them to use my data under strict limits which may not be changed without my formal permission in advance. It would say so right on the page where I fill in the blanks. My data remains mine, forever.

If a site that got my data under the license gives it out to someone else, it isn't a regrettable incident that might possibly get a brief mention on Wired or C:net, it's a legally actionable event under the same draconian IP laws that all those media companies have spent millions of dollars lobbying for. Selling a database won't just get you a bunch of angry emails from /. regulars, it would be the basis for a class action with thousands of easily identified persons in the class. (Just look them up from the database.) And as a capper, if your data was ever sold, you could use that fact as the basis for discovery motions to every other bastard in the personal data trade, demanding to know exactly who gave them their data and under what circumstances, to make sure none of them had any of the *tainted* data. Think the EFF and the ACLU would be willing to help out? Yeah, me too.

Oh, and for the folks that would want to stick a "Gnu" in the name of the license - sorry. The whole point is that my data remains proprietary, with myself as the owner. Not all data wants to be free, my personal info likes its dark little box just fine, thank you.

-reemul

Straw Poll (3, Interesting)

alnapp (321260) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918941)

Quick Question

Which state attorneys generals do you think will go for M$?

and which won't

Re:Straw Poll (1)

alnapp (321260) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919024)

No, really, Which state attorney generals do you think will go for M$?

Will any of them appreciate or understand the case the letter presents?
Genuinley interested

Re:Straw Poll (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919080)

Who the hell modded this Offtopic?

Re:Straw Poll (1)

reemul (1554) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919110)

While MS makes a convenient whipping boy, the fact that a privacy case is made against them alone - when they are by far not the only folks who sell user data - indicates that this current effort is merely a political sideshow to get media exposure. Of course the state attorney generals will bite, they all want to be governor someday, and want all the media coverage they can get. Actual law isn't the point, and won't be addressed, by posing AGs looking to raise their media profile. Sadly, this important topic is just being whored out as a fundraiser. Hope Oracle, Sun, and AOL paid some big checks to EPIC for this shameless pandering - if you're going to sell out, don't go cheap.

-reemul

Nice try (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919345)

But the plural of attorney general is "Attorneys general", the plural possesive would then be "Attorneys' General".

Or you might have avoided the problem by making the state the possesive:

"Which state's attorney general do you think will go for MS." (implying one answer)

or alternatively

"Which states' attorney general do you think will for for MS."

This would generate a list of states, rather than peoples names, but for neophytes like me, who don't know or care what the persons' names are, the list of states would be just as good or better.

Yes it is a quibble, but if we don't help each other to talk correctly, we are helping each other to talk incorrectly.

Quibbles and Bits (1, Offtopic)

virg_mattes (230616) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919406)

Okay, if you want to quibble, we aren't talking at all. We're writing.

Virg

Education and awareness (3, Interesting)

gandalf_grey (93942) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918944)

I feel the key to success in these matters is to educate the legislators, and other relevant "law talking dudes". Misconception, ignorance and fear are the cause of most of the legal setbacks in the electronic information age. I applaude EPIC on a good attempt to bring light into the prevailing darkness.

deceptive trade practices (5, Funny)

markmoss (301064) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918946)

From the letter: "Microsoft's failure to make public known security risks in Windows XP and Passport and provide a reasonable degree of control of personal information violates state law that prohibits unfair deceptive trade practices. In light of the FTC's reluctance to address this clear violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act even after the widely disclosed security flaws, we urge you to investigate the privacy and security risks of Microsoft Passport."

If that's deceptive, how about those ads claiming that Windows servers run unattended?

deceptive -- software that doesn't work / insecure (3, Informative)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919265)

Actually, it's not as funny as it sounds. Microsoft has known since 2000 (when the article below was published) at the latest that MS-Passport cannot be made secure even in theory. You have to read the whole article because the abstract only addresses a minor issue.
David P. Kormann and Aviel D. Rubin, "
Risks of the Passport Single Signon Protocol [avirubin.com] ," Computer Networks, Elsevier Science Press, volume 33, pages 51-58, 2000. (accessed 21 sep 2001)
http://avirubin.com/passport.html
I'd call that deceptive.

Umpteenth post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2918950)

Only 8 people (of whom two were a troll, one was a gnome and several others a leprachaun) beat me to it!

Holy cow (4, Interesting)

AT Tappman (551697) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918952)

The letter says that Microsoft has 200 million passport registrations already. That must mean 200 million Hotmail accounts, or something like that, and of those I'm willing to bet that a good number of them are unused or were used once to gain access to something else. Like MSN Messenger, which requires you to sign up for a Hotmail account.

Hopefully most of those accounts aren't tied to active users, because of this. But if they do really already have 200 million users, all of whom are active, then that really is scary. That's around 3% of the world's population. (If I knew what percentage of the world's population used computers on the internet regularly, this would be more meaningful, but I'll take a guess and say 33%. Then 10% of users online would have active Passport accounts!)

Re:Holy cow (1)

Brobock (226116) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918997)

A Passport account does not require a @msn.com or @hotmail.com. M$ allows you to use your own E-Mail address. So 200 Million Passport accounts doesn't nessarily mean 200 hotmail and msn accounts.

Re:Holy cow (3, Interesting)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919010)

You need a damn passport to get almost anything out of Microsoft now. Mailing list? Passport please! Email? Passport please! IM? Passport please! Plus the damn thing doesn't work properly if you've tweaked your security settings from the defaults (even with IE).

At least three of those passports are (were) mine. I signed up for some mailing lists, got a passport and I have no idea what random crap I pasted into the password field, deleted the crap it dumped to my hard drive and moved on. Ditto when I realised I'd missed a mailing list off the subscriptions. Plus my first attempt that barfed because my IE security settings had been customised from one of the preset defaults.

They might have 200m registrations, but how many of those became permanantly dormant the same day they were created?

Re:Holy cow (4, Interesting)

guttentag (313541) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919176)

The Washington Post ran an article about two years ago on a study of internet usage in major metropolitan areas in the U.S. It claimed that the Washington, DC area was the most "wired" region in the country, with about 50% of adults having some access to the Internet.

IIRC, the expected techie cities followed, but the percentages quickly dropped below 30%. Outside those areas, the percentage of adults who have internet access was much lower than that.

In industrialized nations with relatively strong economies, the average internet access rate is probably below 20%. China and India each have populations around 1 billion, but what miniscule fraction of a percentage of their citizens have internet access. Most of the world's population doesn't even have electricity.

I think the percentage of people who (1) have electricity, (2) can afford a computer, (3) have the training to use a computer, (4) and have access to the Internet is probably less than 5%. In fact, I suspect it's closer to 1%.

Still, I think Microsoft's 200 million figure is exaggerated... the result of convenient accounting. Personally, I have at least a dozen Passport accounts that MS automatically gave me when I signed up for Hotmail accounts I only used once. I have never given MS my credit card number or even my real zip code, and I never will, yet I am over a dozen Passport users. Heck, my imaginary dog has two Hotmail accounts (he complained that the first one was full of spam, so I signed him up for a second account).

Aside from users like me (and my imaginary dog), I had a friend who wrote a commercial script to log into Hotmail. To test it, he wrote another script that created thousands of Hotmail (and Passport) accounts. He did the same thing with Yahoo, and apparently this phenomenon is common enough that Yahoo now requires new users to use "Word Verification" [yahoo.com] to "prevent automated registrations."

Re:Holy cow (2)

Tom (822) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919225)

> (If I knew what percentage of the world's
> population used computers on the internet
> regularly, this would be more meaningful, but
> I'll take a guess and say 33%.

you must be joking. about 70% of the world population can't even read and write. half of the world population is on the brink of starvation.

industry sources speak about around 600 mio. computers-in-use at the end of 2001 (c-i-a.com). that would give 10% of the world population a computer, except that it counts business machines, too, which outnumber privately-owned machines by several factors. and the vast majority of business machines will not be internet connected.

isc.org speaks of 125 mio internet connected hosts (july 2001), their definition being "hosts advertised in DNS". this may be several machines for a single DNS entry or - more likely - one or a few machines for many DNS entries (large hosting centers).

so we don't have any good figures, but I'd take bets that 33% is a tremendous exaggeration. even for the US, just over 50% of households own a PC with internet connection. in those parts of the world that contain the majority of the population, most homes don't have electricity or plumbing. I'd be surprised if 33% of the world population even knew what "the internet" is.

Re:Holy cow (0, Offtopic)

zummit (448138) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919418)

If there were 100 people in the World, there would Be....

57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
8 Africans
52 would be female
48 would be male
70 would be non-white
30 would be white
70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian
89 would be heterosexual
11 would be homosexual
6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth,
and all 6 would be from the United States.
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth
1 would have a college education
1 would own a computer

Similarity (5, Interesting)

mirko (198274) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918957)

In addition to the unwarranted collection of consumer data, Microsoft offers no method to delete a Passport registration. Microsoft claims
that Passport gives users control of their personal information. However, the most basic aspect of control--the right to take back one's
personal information--is not accommodated by the Passport system.


Note that one can't delete his Slashdot account either. which could actually be the source of some trouble as if he suddenly changes his mind about whichever opinion or way to express it he has, there'd be a way to track his former behaviour if the account he opened was named like him and we know for sure how much we change over the time (maybe from the pro-patent to anti-patent or from the extremist to the moderate).

Though I dislike to add such disclaimer in my Slashdot post, I'd like to point out that I don't want this comment to be considered as a troll neither it is off-topic.

This is just a way to point out that we should ensure that noone may reproach us with the sam ethings that are being reproached to Microsoft or whoever else.

Back to the article, now: what sort of effect does such a letter have?

Re:Similarity (3, Insightful)

ASyndicate (159990) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918987)

Yes however good intentioned your post may be you are comparing two different things.

Microsoft Passport is a method of storing personal information that can potentially be used to profile your spending habits, income, lifestyle. Not to mention selling your identity by help desk personnel at microsoft.

Slashdot is an open forum that readers Willingly express their opinion. There is no reason to cancel a Slashdot account.

What if you dont want Microsoft to hold your information against your will because of a 'technical limitation' That is, frankly, bullshit.

Re:Similarity (2)

bihoy (100694) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919034)


> Yes however good intentioned your post may be you are comparing two different things.

There are certainly huge differences between what Micorsoft is proposing and what Slashdot is doing.
Nevertheless, the point is valid. Though we enjoy freedom of speech in this country, our words can still come back to haunt us.

The fact remains that information on the Internet is very easy to search and retreive. Anyone with Internet access, just about anywhere in the world, has a dizzying amount of information that can increasingly be obtained about us. Be it personal, financial, or intellectual.

Shoud we be concerned about this?
Should we try to put some limits on it?
What are the costs and the benefits to society?

Re:Similarity (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919224)

I send you this to have your advice [kuro5hin.org]



Damn lameness filter...

Re:Similarity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919376)

And you Willingly buy.

Profiling you by what type of undies you buy is no different than profiling you by what you said yesterday.

If there is no need to delete a slashdot account, then there is no reason you shouldn't post your credit card statement.

Everyone knows that the only people who keep secrets are hiding illegailites. There is no reason for encryption.

Re:Similarity - NOT! (1)

an_mo (175299) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919004)

Note that one can't delete his Slashdot account either. which could actually be the source of some trouble as if he suddenly changes his mind about whichever opinion or way to express it he has
I disagree. The issue here is totally different. The direct consequence of posting on slashdot (and the reason to post) is for others to read your post. When you rant on slashdot you expose yourself and you know you may regret it in the future. With password you log in, browse, shop. These are activities which the average user consider anonymous, but that are deceptively logged by microsoft. You are exposed to information gathering which is not a direct consequence to what you are doing. Shopping/browsing per se are anonymous activities. Posting is not if you choose to post your name.

Re:Similarity - NOT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919431)

The paper trail is a direct consequence. Not a desirable one, but it is a direct consequence.

My comment trail is another undesirable, but direct consequence of posting here.

If I like to play devils advocate, and then have to answer to someone that doesn't understand that I could have a different opinion from his, then I have been wrongfully harmed by my posting history.

Anonymity is paramount to open and frank discussion. This has been argued again and again in free speech circles. If I am not anonymous in my criticisms of my country, boss, school, or whatever, even with the first amendment (and not everyone on slashdot has first amendment rights, I might remind you) I should fear reprisal.

With all the companies and cults that are using trademark and copyright law to keep people quiet, or even make their lives hell, this becomes more obvious. This doesn't even bring into account the illegal harassment that unions, corporations, or cults might use if I speak my mind against them.

Anonymity is paramount to free speech.

Re:Similarity (4, Informative)

DanThe Bike (87732) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919173)

Microsoft offers no method to delete a Passport registration

This is wrong, if you have a passport account you can delete it. Visit the Contact Us [passport.com] help page, and select the 'delete my account' from the list of things in the I need to list. They'll then send you a mail asking for answers to the secret questions. They were very responsive when I tried.

Re:Similarity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919308)

He was only quoting the article.
So, this makes one thing that passport has ans /. hasn't.

Re:Similarity (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919386)

Hey, thanks! I just went there and cancelled mine. I signed up when I got a copy of WinXP, just to get rid of the nag message. Then I asked, "what good is this for?" There aren't even that many useful websites that support Passport and I can't see any real benefit. Single sign-ons are for lazy people who deserve to get cracked.

When I filled out the "delete account" form, I entered this in the comments field for extra umph:
"My child created this account without my knowledge." I have no children, but this statement will probably light a fire under their asses to delete the account.

Now that the Passport account is gone, how does one get rid of the nag message in XP to sign up for it?

Re:Similarity (1)

Bnonn (553709) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919179)

  • Note that one can't delete his Slashdot account either. which could actually be the source of some trouble as if he suddenly changes his mind about whichever opinion or way to express it he has, there'd be a way to track his former behaviour if the account he opened was named like him and we know for sure how much we change over the time (maybe from the pro-patent to anti-patent or from the extremist to the moderate).

Except that to create an account on Slashdot, all you're asked for is your username, password, and a valid email address. Only one of those can even be traced back to you, and I know of at least one webmail system [submail.net] that asks you very little more than Slashdot does (and there's no reason not to just duplicate your username into the "Full name" field).

Passport, on the other hand, is slightly more curious about your details, and is used by a lot of people for very real and potentially important things.

Passport Roach Motel (5, Interesting)

Alderete (12656) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918958)

I once signed up for a Passport account, because Microsoft was giving me 20% off the price of a TiVo (or any electronics item at 800.com) if I paid for it with Passport (then called something else).

Now I'd like to get out of the system, because I don't trust it to be secure, but because I've forgotten my password, I can't.

Go to the Passport site (http://www.passport.com [passport.com] ) and look; there's no FAQ or other document that tells you how to cancel your account. Nor is there any e-mail address of anyone who might be able to help you do it manually.

So, when you hear Passport adoption statistics, subtract at least one. I've never used my Passport a second time, but can't get rid of it, after trying for weeks.

Re:Passport Roach Motel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919041)

If you do not use your Passport account for one year, it will be deleted.

Or so I was told when I had filled out a form to access a friends MSN site and realized what I have done.

This was in an email that was sent to me by a person working at MSN after I had emailed them.

Re:Passport Roach Motel (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919050)

Go to the Passport site (http://www.passport.com [passport.com])

I'd love to, but they "no longer" support the latest version of Opera 6.0 for Windows. I guess I'm stuck with sites that comply with standards instead of joining the Borg Collective.

Luckily (in a manner of speaking), it was easy to trick it into believing I was MSIE (through Opera's "identify as" feature). It's just sad that feature needs to exist, but that belongs in a different thread.

Re:Passport Roach Motel (4, Interesting)

toriver (11308) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919071)

Now I'd like to get out of the system, because I don't trust it to be secure, but because I've forgotten my password, I can't.

Sure, just wait for a quantum event, like this one (from their agreement):

"Microsoft reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate your access to the Passport Services or any portion thereof at any time, without notice."

But you're correct that the agreement doesn't open for you, the consumer, to end the contract. Surely that must be against some contract law somewhere?

Re:Passport Roach Motel (3, Interesting)

Ldir (411548) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919076)

I'm in the same boat, almost exactly. I also signed up with Passport just to get their 20% discount. I used it exactly twice, at Mercata (R.I.P.) on a Tivo and a Philips Pronto remote. This was before Passport was revealed to be part of Microsoft's own-the-Internet strategy, though it wasn't too hard even then to see that MS hoped to turn it into something big.

I've never been back, and I certainly don't plan to go back if I can avoid it. I hope the credit card number I used has expired by now. I wonder how many millions more Passport "users" are really just people like us, who couldn't pass up a "free" 20% gift. It's classic Microsoft, using deep pockets to buy a market.

That's the great little gotcha for Passport, once it becomes entrenched as an effective monopoly. MS can begin charging a "nominal annual fee" to maintain our Passport accounts.

All your dollars/Euros are belong to us.

Re:Passport Roach Motel (1)

segfaultdot (462810) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919250)

I got a hotmail account in late '96/early '97, before microsoft bought it. When M$ bought it i wanted to cancel it, but the only way to do so was to not use it for six months. Sure enough, six months later, i could not longer log on. I'm not sure if they still have my data or not, though. Luckliy, i moved to another state. :)

Re:Passport Roach Motel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919276)

Yeah ... It must be Microsoft's fault that you forgot your password.

Attorneys General (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2918969)


"State AGs"? Shouldn't that be "State AsG"? I know, I expect too much.

Reasoning (2)

virg_mattes (230616) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919441)

> "State AGs"? Shouldn't that be "State AsG"?

Not really. Since AG is an accepted acronym for "Attorney General" it can be used monolithically when you're pluralizing it. It's much like pluralizing LOF (Line of Fire) as LOFs, not LsOF.

Virg

confusion (1)

jaavaaguru (261551) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918970)

Is it just me, or did anyone else think this was gonna be EPIC games [epicgames.com] vs MS, in an AOL-TW style?

Future tense (4, Interesting)

_ganja_ (179968) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918973)

To me, you average geek, most of the letter refers to what Microsoft could possibly do in the future. I could possibly go out and rob a bank in the next week but does this mean the police should arrest me? Actually, isn't that what the homeland (fatherland) security acts is all about, I digress.


I'm on EPIC's side and I agree with most of the point of the *potential* problems with Passport but if M$ haven't done anything wrong yet ot EPIC offers no proof except the potential for harm then this isn't going to get much notice.


Kids Passport? *shiver*.

Re:Future tense (1)

Tha_Zanthrax (521419) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918998)

I could possibly go out and rob a bank in the next week but does this mean the police should arrest me?

Yes, it does !

Planning such a crime is concidered illegal.

Re:Future tense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919084)

Only if you plan with other individuals making it conspiracy. Otherwise, you can plan all you want to yourself and no one will arrest you.

Re:Future tense (3, Insightful)

pixel fairy (898) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919021)

yes, but i dont think you have anywhere near microsofts history of lying, cheating, stealing, extortion, bribery, falsifying court evidence, flagrant disregard of the law, meglomania, etc etc.

also microsoft claimed (at least according to the letter) that they want all internet users signed up.this is really scary, especially given the companies history.

granted anyone reading this probably knows better so its up to us to warn everyone else.

Re:Future tense (1)

_ganja_ (179968) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919187)

Spot on I don't have MS's history, I'm a fairly honest guy and would never dream of robbing a bank however, the average guy doesn't really know how bad Microsoft is. Microsoft create jobs and if you watch Bush's state of the union address I'm sure that's what he'll mention after the "war" (read, need for oil) on terrorism (read oil rich countries).


Realistically, people actually don't care that much about M$, we do in our corner of the world and as we have to deal in IT circles everyday we see the unfair, anti-competitive ways. Most people unfortunately don't give two shits including attorney generals unless there is a real crime to investigate*. Given the questions that need to be asked about 9/11 and just haven't been by the general population or the media, I'm sure Microsoft planning a backdoor take over bid for all online transactions won't even raise an eye.


Sometimes I really wonder when America will wake up; given the obvious lies and deceit spun by the press and the government that most people educated to a normal level could see through, I'm sure it will be any day now but alas I've thought that for the last 5 years.


*The proof of a crime does not even mean that an investigation will take place, depends of serval factors including campain funds / can it be put down to a suicide or swimming accident.

Re:Future tense (2)

markmoss (301064) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919109)

>most of the letter refers to what Microsoft could possibly do in the future. I could possibly go out and rob a bank in the next week but does this mean the police should arrest me? If you have previously robbed banks you certainly can be arrested for acquiring guns, masks, and safecracking tools.

Or what may be more to the point where MS is concerned: their servers have already been cracked to the point where unknown third parties could have read out just about any data they wanted from MS's network. Therefore, whether or not MS promises to keep your data private is pretty much meaningless, because that's a promise they do not know how to keep.

Re:Future tense (2)

Mop (30370) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919199)

The letter refers to what Microsoft could possibly do in the future. I could possibly go out and rob a bank in the next week but does this mean the police should arrest me?
If you have a track record or robberies, and have built a tool which would allow you to rob 10000 banks in one single shot, well... the police should probably arrest you, indeed. I mean: even if you issued a public statement about not using this tool.

Against the law nonetheless.. (5, Insightful)

aphor (99965) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919228)

Regardless of whether Microsoft has been proven to abuse the power, there are laws which make it illegal to posess the ability to abuse the power. The idea comes from a legal term: "conflict of interest."

When a person offers a service to another person in the financial/legal/medical world they are acting as an agent on behalf of the customer. Legally, that arragement has an implied "fiduciary responsibility" to the customer. That means if someone gives you the key to their account and you do something they wouldn't have agreed to, you are wrong and subject to criminal and civil liability. In the case of finances, there are EXTRA laws that say you are not even allowed to ofer such services to people if you have an interest in ripping them off (like other competing customers).

Bill Gates comes from a long line of lawyers: his family is a lawyer family. He knows he can flout the law wherever there is grey area because he has the money to risk. If he manages to win some small legal challenge, he has stretched the law to allow more exploitation and the windfall revenue that goes with.

When you (the US) have a big dog, you put a pinch (or shock) collar on him, and you jerk it hard (or shock him) when he *starts* to get out of line. You can let up a little, but only when he has a compelling fear of disproportionate retribution. Corporations are less like people who deserve rights, and more like dangerous, powerful animals that must be attended to with preemptive stewardship. Emotions, values, and ethics are not present in the brains of reptiles or boardrooms.

Re:Against the law nonetheless.. (1)

orcrist (16312) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919397)

When you (the US) have a big dog, you put a pinch (or shock) collar on him, and you jerk it hard (or shock him) when he *starts* to get out of line. You can let up a little, but only when he has a compelling fear of disproportionate retribution. Corporations are less like people who deserve rights, and more like dangerous, powerful animals that must be attended to with preemptive stewardship. Emotions, values, and ethics are not present in the brains of reptiles or boardrooms.

Beautiful metaphor!!!

Who's driving this? (1)

agby (303294) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918975)

Who exactly is the driving force behind EPIC? It would appear at first sight that this is driven slightly by the Beast of Redmond. Who else would push passport (and at the same time Hailstorm/.NET/all your base/etc) at high ranking public officials?

What's the motivation behind this? I suppose we're asked to believe that if it's good enough for the attorney general, then it's OK for me (glossing over the substantial evidence that passport is an insecure and bug-ridden system).

Re:Who's driving this? (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919078)

You realize the error in your assumption, right?

Pursuing Passport (3, Funny)

guttentag (313541) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918980)

EPIC Urges State AGs to Pursue Microsoft Passport
So, which state attorney general do you expect will be the first to announce he's signed up for a Passport account?

EPIC: We urge you to pursue Microsoft Passport.
Unnamed State Attorney General: Thanks for recommending this great service. I transfer all my documents through Hotmail now and with Microsoft's upcoming Intellisignature Technology I can sign sign everything with just a click of my mouse.

Tried this at the National level.... (4, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918993)

"We have repeatedly urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate this matter in two separate filings, but the Commission has failed to act. We therefore urge you now to initiate an investigation under your statutory authority."

Ok, so what they are saying is, the FCC didn't care, so we are going to attack at a lower level. While I admire their determination/wish them luck, how much will this knowledge that the FCC didn't do anything affect them? Food for thought this AM....

FCC and FTC are not the same (4, Informative)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919105)

The FCC is the Federal Communications Commission. If you are involved in a dispute that is, in any way, commercial, they will not involve themselves. You have to talk to the FTC. This can be a bit of a bitch if you're small time and buying spectrum, or the like, and got ripped off, because it is the FCC who actually knows what is going on, but since it is a service dispute they won't get involved.

The FTC is the Federal Trade Commission. They are a very different animal - for one thing, they are a hugely more powerful institution. They are the people you have to talk to if you want a dispute (like, say, MS Passport is mysteriously billing you for services you didn't buy) resolved without involving the courts; even if you are going to go to court you generally have to talk to the FTC first.

It is, perhaps unfortunately, very difficult to get the FTC's attention. I assume that the state attorneys general know this. Also, major decisions at the FTC are made by political appointees; the Bush administration has been seen by many attorneys general as being soft on MS.

Re:FCC and FTC are not the same (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919241)

Yeah, was a typo...thanks for the insight though....

Yes, I am being serious.

Re:Tried this at the National level.... (2)

Masem (1171) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919129)

They (groups generally opposed to spam, which I believe EPIC would be behind) tried to get spam legislation passed at the national level and couldn't.

Then they tried to pass it at the state level and have succeeded in several cases, including court victories that strength such laws.

Dealing with an issue such as privacy at the state level is going to have a better chance of passing because the common ideologies of the state populous will be somewhat more narrower than those of the nation as a whole. In addition, there's not as much of a lobbyist effort in state governments, because it would spread a company thin to deal with 50 + 1 governments instead of just 1. Furthermore, if a majority of states enact some regulation, other states are usually pressured into passing similar ones if only to remain sufficient consistant (Particularly if the state without such a statute is surrounded on all borders by states with such.)

Heck, look at what the vendors were trying to do with UCITA, trying to achieve a national standard by aiming at the states.

And lest anyone ask (4, Informative)

Voidhobo (219337) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918999)

Should anybody ask "How is this a bad thing?", send them to read Privacy and Power: Computer Databases and Metaphors for Information Privacy (linked to here [shu.edu] ) by Daniel Solove. I personally think it is worth reading the whole thing, but it's kinda long, so maybe this NY Times article [centrexnews.com] is a better suggestion.

It basically says, "You may think Big Brother isn't interested in you, and you may be right, but there is a Big Unknown gathering so much information about you, she could come after you once you become a nuisance to her!", only in a less conspiracy-theoretical way...

Passprot Issues (3, Insightful)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919012)

The largest problem in my mind with passport and its related .NET services is the dependance on username@hotmail.com. This service first of all has never proven itself to be reliable. Second of all is the source of(or at least the visable source of) at least half the spam I recieve because they don't secure the thing properly. I would dearly love to block mail from hotmail on my domain, but with the dependance on hotmail for all things M$ related I would cut off a goodly number of people from being able to communicate. We have MCSE's working here and they need to send and recieve on hotmail because of this dependance.

Re:Passprot Issues (2)

_ganja_ (179968) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919252)

"We have MCSE's working here.."


Sorry to hear about that, isn't their anything you can do? Maybe you could get in a pest control company?

Anonyimty and passport (3, Insightful)

CDWert (450988) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919015)

I can say, I will never use passport I made that decision a long time ago. I dont trust MS with my information anymore than the next yahooo. I have had a hotmail account since the day after they started their service to the public, they have no personal information that is accurate, nor does yahoo, nor for that matter ebay. I started in 96 with ebay. I fortunatley have been on the web long enough to have avoided confirmations and the like. When any site I got to starts requiring passport services Im history.

Staying anonymous on the web is getting tougher but not impossible, confirmed . MS cannot ENSURE privacy with the passport system this has been proven, and as such it is vunerable to state regulation.

Then again I trade grocery discount cards......

Re:Anonyimty and passport (1)

bluebomber (155733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919209)

Then again I trade grocery discount cards......

Heh. I have four. None in my real name. One used a real address, but I've moved twice since then. No need to trade...

Re:Anonyimty and passport (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919294)

And yet you have a hotmail account?

Microsoft... a marketing company (1, Redundant)

MrIcee (550834) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919035)

This is just further proof (not that we did not know this already) that Microsoft has shifted focus from being a software house (hahahahahahahaha) to now being a information database for sale.

One way to make them crumble is to USE passport and wallet on machines where you do not intend to purchase... and ALWAYS use bogus information. Their databases will become useless quickly if it is filled with info that is worthless to the people purchasing the databases.

Another thought is.... if this info is constantly sent to microsoft, including your browsing habits... how hard would it be to write a program that does noting but browse browse browse... if it was built simliar to SETI, etc... and distributed among a quarter million PC's... that should flood Microsoft servers with enough *data* to cause them some grief.

As far as microsoft goes... I'm all for spoofing... lieing to them, and filling their drives with useless crap - just as they have filled my drives.

Will this ever end? (1, Troll)

WildBeast (189336) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919046)

There's a lesson to be learned from all this. Companies should never get too big because some people will be jealous, angry and dangerous. The same advice is valid for individuals to, if you're too successfull, have too much money, etc. people will try there best to make your life a miserable one.

Its lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit, it never ends. Weird enough nobody considers suing Sun's Passport clone, brought to you by the famous McNealy with his famous quote "there's no such thing as privacy, get over it."

Re:Will this ever end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919086)

Because they don't have the monopoly power to force their system on the general public.

Re:Will this ever end? (2)

WildBeast (189336) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919183)

Sure they do because they'll be partnering with AOL and other huge companies.

Re:Will this ever end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919395)

But McNealy isn't in a position to have a widespread impact at this point. Microsoft, with a claim of 200 million Passport users, is clearly a more immediate problem and must be dealt with first.

Opt-In vs Opt-Out vs Passport. (4, Insightful)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919049)

Much of the law seems to be based on the idea of protecting people by making things "Opt-in". An extreme practical example is that, for example, youdo not have to "opt-out" of one of any number of criminal assaults for every single person that you meet coming down the road. It is assumed the you do not want to be assaulted unless you specifically "opt-in" such as in certain sexual activities.

This is easy enough to see in the case of spammers and mailing list types who want to assume that you want to get their junk unless you "opt-out". With thousands of advertisers, this quickly becomes unworkable.

Now we come to MS and Passport. With the fact of Monopoly, it is possible to enforce the sale and or acceptance of other "products" because they are "part of the whole package" I beleive that in certain states, for Certain industries, you cannot enforce the sale of product number 2 as a prerequisite to purchasing product numbr one. This varies by the product. Of course, you can always say "included free" but some things that are free are not worth the price.

In the case of a monopoly, you can enforce the acceptance of items which would not otherwise be desired, and which may be a mixed blessing to the consumer at best. I am extraorinarily wary of Paspport and the all in one wonderful world of Microsoft Productivity that it promises for people.

Stepford Nation, indeed.

Biting off more than they can chew (3, Insightful)

Proaxiom (544639) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919062)

While noble, this effort isn't going anywhere. The AGs probably won't take this any further than the FTC did.

They are attacking MS because they collect personal information that could be exposed through security flaws?

How many dozens of e-commerce sites could be shut down on that account? Think about it.

Or are the Attorney Generals being asked to hold Microsoft accountable for their weak security? Bruce Schneier's been trying to go there for years [counterpane.com] .

Unfortunately, he could tell EPIC exactly how far this is going to go.

Privacy for dummies. Chapter 1. (5, Insightful)

Unfallen (114859) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919066)

I have been on the receiving end of Microsoft's "Security Policy" in the past, finding myself (accidentally or deliberately, I have no idea) subscribed to several salubrious MSN forums. After several months and few non-automated replies, I finally topped receiving the e-mails, but with neither explanation of why I got them, who had done it, nor even an acknowledgement or an apology.


Let us now put this into the context of the passport scheme - the EPIC letter states "Microsoft has indicated that the company's goal is to have every Internet user possess a Passport account", which I deem a fair summary of the situation (although, ideally, everybody would also use a Hotmail account too). Trundle along to, say, http://www.passport.com [passport.com] and look! See how you can sign up with ease! Get it now! Calooh! Callay!


Now let us try to pull the same trick that was pulled on me, and that I have fortunately not seen on any well-organised mailing list outside of Redmond. Enter an e-mail address, any e-mail address (excepting MS-specific ones such as Hotmail) - even make one up that obviosuly doesn't exist, and then... Carry On! Yes! There's still no security! At least, I guess, an e-mail gets sent to the e-mail address asking you to verify it, but this seems to be purely for service embellishment:


Please take a moment to help us verify your e-mail address. This ensures that .NET Passport can respond to you if you contact us about a service issue. In addition, some participating .NET Passport sites may require you to verify your e-mail address to take full advantage of their own services.

Using the new obviously-fake account, I can save settings, edit my MSN etc etc much as I may or may not want to. That is not the issue. What we have here is clearly a case of theft of privacy - without even trying, anyone is able to sign up anybody else's e-mail account for a passport. Who knows what havoc this could/will cause! Not being particularly au fait with MSN, I have only circumspection, but Microsoft have an epic journey to go before they reach "Trustworthy Computing [tm]" if they fail to understand the basics of privacy and intrusion, as highlighted here.


To conclude, I say get out there, fight it from the other end - the end that consumers will understand. Sign up as many fake and real accounts as you like to demonstrate just how fallible the system is. I'm off to see if they prevent scripting...

Re:Privacy for dummies. Chapter 1. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919131)

> I have been on the receiving end of Microsoft's >"Security Policy" in the past, finding myself
>(accidentally or deliberately, I have no idea)
>subscribed to several salubrious MSN forums.
>After several months and few non-automated
>replies, I finally topped receiving the
>e-mails, but with neither explanation of why
>I got them, who had done it, nor even an >acknowledgement or an apology.

This happened to me also! I wonder how many people have been signed up who never did so themselves. It is extremely annoying because there is no means to remove onself and then you start getting a whole bunch of trash email at your real email address.

Re:Privacy for dummies. Chapter 1. (2, Interesting)

Unfallen (114859) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919254)

Quick update on how passport seems to work - there is a "Reset my password" link, in case you've forgotten your password, obviously, but also to be used if someone else were to sign you up, I guess. This works fine - it took a while longer to come through than the "Welcome to MSN Passport" e-mail did, but it got there.


This is great if someone just signs you up and leaves it at that. However, the same e-mail verification process (get the sign-up statistics first, ask for validation later...) is used if you want to change your e-mail. So by the time they confirm the password reset, they're told that the account is not registered at all! If they then don't register with passport.com, there is nothing AFAICS to stop the account being pointed back at that e-mail, starting the fun and games from scratch again.


I also assume (subject to further tests) that the same mechanism is still in place for subscribing to e-mail lists and the like. We shall see...

Re:Privacy for dummies. Chapter 1. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919316)

Go to the passport site, and sign up using your congressman's email address. Send him an email telling him what's going on and that "some 'people' have been masquerading as famous people on passport -- please don't allow this to continue"

Re:Privacy for dummies. Chapter 1. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919408)

Thanks for the tip. I just signed up to passport using the email of the guy in our office responsible for security on the new products. If he gets too excited about .net, I'll point this out to him.

EPIC Letter needs a proof reader (2, Interesting)

RonMcMahon (544607) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919081)

Perhaps the reason why the FTC hasn't acted is because of the horrendous writing style and inadequate proof-reading of the EPIC authors. While I will never present myself as an accomplished speller or grammar fanatic, even I see poor use of our language in this document. Perhaps the most galling is the line: "over 100 hundred of the largest online retailers" (which can be found in the third paragraph). So, is that 100 or 100,000? These guys at EPIC are complaining that Microsoft doesn't pay enough attention to the details (which is true), while putting out this grade-school effort in communication.

What I did (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919088)

I have started e-mail chain letters I send to people urging them to send it too others letting them know about Microsoft's bad habits. As many people in my community know me to be a "computer geek" and come to me with all there problems, they trust my opinion. I urge you all to do the same. The general public knows nothing about any of this. Do your part to help inform others, your friends and family trust you, let them know, explain it to them in simple terms they can understand.

Worse Still... (1)

jonnyfish (224288) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919146)

I was interested in whether my old Hotmail account still exists (I used it briefly when I moved and had no ISP of my own), so I tried to use my old name and password. I was redirected to the Passport website, which told me my browser (Mozilla) was unsupported. Last time I checked, Mozilla supported enough features to allow me to log into other websites. What gives?

FTC Swindle (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919167)

Did anyone else notice that the name of the FTC Commissioner cc'ed at the end is Orson Swindle?

Talk about putting the fox in charge of the henhouse...

remember: When giving private info (5, Interesting)

bluGill (862) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919194)

You are born in 1998, your zip code is 82312, your gender is none of their buisness (and if they instist use a coin to decide). Nor is your race, religion, or the type of car you drive their buisness.

Reasons for the above: In the US only minors have privacy protection, so by putting down a birthdate of 1998 you are under those laws as far as they know. Your physical address is none of their buisness, unless you are buying something from them. (and so far I've never had a problem with the venders who I buy from though there are bad apples out there). Your gender, race, religion, etc is none of their buiseness, on the net nobody knows you are a dog! Refuse to answer, or anser randomly. Randomly means sometimes you give the right answer, because if you always gave the wrong answer that in itself would be a clue.

Remember invalid data that they have is less valiuable then not having data at all in many cases.

Re:remember: When giving private info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919422)

Remember invalid data that they have is less valiuable then not having data at all in many cases.
CmdrTaco? Is that you?

I have two! (2, Funny)

russianspy (523929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919207)

That's right! I have two hotmail accounts. I guess that also means that I have two Passport accounts.
As for not using them, I can't. They're extremely valuable. You see - this way ALL the spam I would get in my primary account - goes to Hotmail. It's kinda fitting, don't you think?
As to why I have two? About two months ago I received almost 1,200 spam messages over a 24 hour period. that's NOT a joke. I abandoned rspy@homail.com and switched to a new one. I figure I'll give this one 6-12 months ;-)
Honestly though. There are VALID reasons for using Hotmail and other Microsoft services. This is one of them.

Oh, Come On! (3, Interesting)

ClubStew (113954) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919285)

Does everything Microsoft does have to be under scrutiny? Personally, I think AOL/Time/Warner(/US Gov't) is more evil by far. The only reason no one ever gives them crap is because the government is a secret part of that merger!

Microsoft Passport is a good idea. Sun et. al. think so. They are coming up with Liberty, their answer to Passport.

Does Passport need work? Yes, I don't deny that. But does Passport store *everything* on the server? NO! A site that implements Passport is responsible for keeping track of their own consumer's information. This is outlined in the .NET Framework and Passport SDKs. Currently, there is no way for a site to pass infomration back to the central Passport database. The only thing Passport could know about you in that case is that you go to that site.

Get off their backs. I'm a big linux and open-source supporter but I also realize that Microsoft has better integration as a whole system. I'm getting really tired of the crap everyone on this site gives them. You could point fingers at a lot of other companies, too, not just Microsoft. For instance, anyone read the other post today? Linus is being a pain in the butt. Maybe you should scrutinize him for a while!

Re:Oh, Come On! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2919325)

The problem is not about Passport. It's about security glitches and bad software.

Re:Oh, Come On! (5, Insightful)

Diabolical (2110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919437)

The reason why no-one is going after AOL/TimeWarner is because they don't own 90+% of the desktop which they could use to leverage their other products.. this is all about not having a choice.. MSN is tightly integrated in XP. The browser is prominently on the desktop as is the MSN messenger software. Opening Outlook Express starts a signup session with Hotmail, etc. etc. etc... Creating a Passport account is almost done automatically if you do not know better then to use what MS prescribes.

Now, í'm not a MS basher in the way most people do.. i am however VERY concerned about their growing stranglehold on consumer choice. Ever so slightly people are lured into a total MS dominance...

Ah well.. i'll keep on dreaming of the old days...

I bet... (5, Funny)

Spudley (171066) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919331)

I bet that fellow who paid M$'s lapsed domain registration a few years ago on Passport.com is really kicking himself now!

Although I do agree with EPIC's request... (1)

FireMarshallBill (553233) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919361)

No one is forcing me to use hotmail or .net or windows xp. Since when have people forgotten how to lie? Just make up shit on the form if you don't want your real info to be publicly available. Yes, your average sheep is vulnerable to M$'s tactics, so I applaud EPIC's efforts, but there are 200 million other people who aren't suckers.

So you want out ... (5, Informative)

spector30 (319592) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919414)

It can be done. I managed to get my Passport Account cancelled. It was not easy, but here's how I did it.

Send e-mail to the following address requesting the removal of the passport account and the information associated with it:

passport@css.one.microsoft.com

Be sure to word it strongly or you may not get a response. I ended up getting to the point where I was using curse words and basically spamming this address. I also reported this incident to my local news media (who did nothing. surprise surprise) and informed Microsoft of this.

My big beef on this whole Passport thing was that I was signed up because I am Microsoft Certified. I NEVER requested it, I never checked a box saying I wanted information or anything else from them. So I paid $100 to take a test that allowed MS to harass me.

BTW once you have a response from the above e-mail you will get a number. Be sure to include it in every e-mail you send. Go to the MS support site and start spamming them as well. Eventually they will listen. At least they did for me.

A last note. It did take me a couple weeks to rid myself of the PASSPORT, so be patient and persistent.

Good luck!!!
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