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Windows Tracks CDs & DVDs You Watch

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the you-just-can't-make-this-stuff-up dept.

Privacy 421

lcypher writes "The AP is reporting that there is spyware within Windows Media Player 8(which ships with XP), which records the song titles and DVD titles that a user listens to or views in WMP8. Microsoft execs claim no marketing use right now, but they won't rule it out. " This looks like less of a big deal than the article makes it out to be, but it definitely could be used for evil.

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421 comments

I claim this post for the Queen of Spain! (-1, Offtopic)

Captain Tenille (250795) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042854)

Yeah, muthafuckas. Use that for evil.

Re:I claim this post for the Queen of Spain! (-1, Offtopic)

mar1no (559482) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042901)

I am the Queen of Spain, and I hereby release you of your command, I now claim this post!

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3042855)

I hereby dedicate this fp to my balls.

Cherish them as though they were CmdrTaco.

Re:first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3042871)

Cmder Taco iz VARY gay! Plz fix. Thnx! :)

Pr0n (4, Funny)

68030 (215387) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042859)

Turns out they are just tracking all the pron
file names so they can track them down on
kazaa easier.

Those lazy bastards. (:

Sad News - Goatse.cx guy DEAD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3042862)

I just heard the sad news on BBC radio. Web entreprenuer/pioneer goatse.cx guy was found dead in his home this morning. Even if you never admired his work [slashdot.org], you can appreciate what he did for the 'last frontier' of the internet.

Reports are that he died from complications resulting from \"Your Rights Online: Windows Tracks CDs & DVDs You Watch\". Truly a internet icon. He will be missed :(

This troll was reposted from the Troll Library without permission of the original author. If you object to this post, or if you wish to add your troll to the Troll Library, please reply to this message.

Re:Sad News - Goatse.cx guy DEAD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3042897)

However, in a surprising turn of events, his long lost son hick boy [hick.org] has stepped forward to take his place. "Well, it doesn't make as much money as appalachian male prostitution" he was quoted as saying "but I feel I've got to do it for the sake of the children. Not to mention the goats. It's a pretty intimidating legacy to live up to, but it's not like I haven't had years of practice out back in the woodshed". Cmder Taco (who iz VARY gay) was too busy hitting F5 to be reached for comment.

HA! I knew WMP8 was too good to be true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3042863)

Hmm...I used to use WMP8..never again. I guess what they say is true

Re:HA! I knew WMP8 was too good to be true (1)

the_bikeman (530428) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042994)

Not so. WMP8 (and WMP7) were always shitty players. They are extrememly resource hungry (like all MS products, it seems) and on slower machines, they can't even play a simple CD without skipping. Even on a Athlon 1.6 I've noticed severe hesitation when switching to full screen mode. Personally, I'll stick to WinAmp, or WM6.4. (PowerDVD also!)

There's just one thing to say... (0, Flamebait)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042864)

..when someone makes a deal with the devil and winds up with a pitchfork stuck up his ass.

It's not, "This is an outrage!" It's not, "This must be illegal!" It's not, "What can we do about this?!"

It is merely: "Ha ha ha!"

eak... (2, Funny)

mlk (18543) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042870)

time to add
whatever.the.hell.mediaplayer.uses 127.0.0.1
in the hosts file, and maybe a quick webpage to return
Mlk and a vacume cleaner
the spam-email from that could be veryyy intresting :)

Re:eak... (5, Informative)

phyta (560544) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042958)

Or .. get a firewall that detects and controls net-bound data.

www.zonealarm.com has a great free firewall program that prevents mplayer (and others) from misbehaving.

Re:eak... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3042984)

(User #560544 Info) I feel old

What Is Project Faustus? (-1)

BankofAmerica_ATM (537813) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042874)

Since its onset, the Bank of America has been a front for funding top-secret research to grant immortality to certain privileged people. That research is known as Project Faustus. The newest fruits of this research:
  • VAST TECHNO-ORGANIC NETWORK which allows self-modifying sentient programs to traverse the the digital ether seamlessly. This network is completely private and (supposedly) not connected to the Internet.

  • CONSCIOUSNESS-TRANSFERRING ATM CARD. This allows an interface between the VAST TECHNO-ORGANIC NETWORK and the human brain. The information travels between human and ATM via the magnetic stripe on the ATM card.

Project Faustus is hidden to all but the highest-ranking officials of the Bank of America, and many have died to keep the horrible secret. Once the process of CONSCIOUSNESS-TRANSFER is perfected, it is rumored that these people will beam themselves into the digital ether, wreaking havoc on electronic resources and causing a worldwide financial crisis.

Playing right now: (5, Insightful)

torpor (458) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042881)

DVD: "1,000 ways to torture a Billionaire", widescreen format. No region encoding.
---

But anyway, fair enough. What I'd like to know is how easy it is to insert my own random data into that playlist before it goes off to Microsoft?

Seems the only way to fight this will be with dis-info ...

Re:Playing right now: (2, Funny)

npietraniec (519210) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043061)

Someone should make a "patch" that transmits "fuck you microsoft" 100 times for every video you play ;)

Could be used to "combat piracy" (1)

threephaseboy (215589) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042882)

I'm more concerned about this being used to track down people who watch too many "pirated" videos.. Are they not aligned with the MPAA and the RIAA?

Re:Could be used to "combat piracy" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3042940)

the RIAA iz VARY fair. U r a l33ch. Plz die.
Thnx! :)

Hrm.. (1)

mar1no (559482) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042883)

I guess I should stop watching pornography now because MS will know and then they will design a program that will have porn it it, and I'll buy it, then I'll be mad because stuff doesnt work and stuff....uh why am i still talking?

Re:Hrm.. (1)

yintercept (517362) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043021)

I guess I should stop watching pornography now

Microsoft doesn't care if you watch porn...well, unless it is that fake skit between Bill Gates and Janet Reno...and, maybe if you are watching that, you are sick enough to be removed from the planet anyway...

It won't be personally identifable? (4, Insightful)

Scoria (264473) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042884)

If your IP address is static as opposed to dynamic, Microsoft may possess the ability to compare it to the one used to register Windows XP.

Microsoft's use isn't the issue... (2, Interesting)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042885)

The real problem isn't so much what Microsoft will do with the information. I mean really who cares.

But what other 3rd parties could do with it is really disconcerting. Even assuming MS doesn't sell the information, the information is still being collected and deposited somewhere. Somewhere that maybe a detective or the FBI could trace you down. Or your system administrator, wife or mother-in-lawyer.
Just for innocently checking out that warez movie link...or borrowing a DVD that happened to be ripped..

This is just a local CDDB mirror (5, Insightful)

Zoid (8837) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042888)

If you read the article all this "database" is a copy from the CDDB records (or whatever CDDB is called these days) used for caching. You stick a CD in, it generates a checksum and asks CDDB for the artist/track listing and stores it locally, so it doesn't have to ask again later. As far as I'm aware, there isn't any sending of this database.

It appears they extended to DVDs as well as CDs (just a bigger database I suppose).

The article is a bunch of fluff for a functionality we've used for a long time with numerous programs such as XMCD, AudioCatalyst, etc etc. Microsoft adds it to media player and omg, privacy for getting the disc information for you. I'm pretty sure there's a button to turn it off.

(Gracenote is probably using the CD request data anyway for marketting purposes these days).

Re:This is just a local CDDB mirror (1)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042909)

The problem is that the EULA makes you agree to let MS record this information. Thus, you have no grounds to complain when it turns out you don't have a button to turn it off, perhaps in some patch that is automatically applies by windows update...

Re:This is just a local CDDB mirror (1)

felipeal (177452) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042954)

I'm pretty sure there's a button to turn it off.

Even if there is such button (I wouldn't be surprised if it there isn't, as freedom of choice is not a common characteristic of M$), it should be already turned off by default. Most of the XP - Xtupid Product - users don't even create an user for themselves (they use the default owner one, whose name shouldn't be more appropriated -> owned :), imagine disabling some weird advanced option on the media player...

Re:This is just a local CDDB mirror (1)

ntr0py (205472) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042980)

Good for you. I'm usually not for sticking up for Microsoft, but this really does seem harmless. If the Open Source crowd bitches and moans every time Microsoft comes up with a new feature that really is helpful (like this seems to be), they'll eventually stop adding new helpful features.

Someday, they won't even try to disguise the fact that they're collecting "private data" because they know we're going to cry wolf regardless if it's harmful/invasive or not.

Re:The real kicker (2, Interesting)

yintercept (517362) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043053)

Quite frankly, if I wrote a media player, I would include a robust database that recorded play history. I would actually make the database a big feature...you could browse through it, run stats, and delete it if you please.

The deal is, Microsoft puts all of this crap on our 100GB hard drives that we can never figure out what it does. They also never give you decent controls over the inner workings of the machines. It's sad to think that Microsoft might be storing information that could come up in a lawsuit against me. The real kicker is that they haven't provided a decent way for me to view this information.

Re:This is just a local CDDB mirror (5, Informative)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042998)

Yup, logs into a database, gives them an ID based on your computer, your IP, and the multimedia your viewing, also leaves a nice log file on your PC of your activity.

So no, its a little more than just a mirror of a CDDB database. The traffic is bi-directional, and leaves a log trail.
-
I was so naive as a kid I used to sneak behind the barn and do nothing. - Johnny Carson

Re:This is just a local CDDB mirror (2)

Zoid (8837) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043055)

It's not a usage log. It's a local cache of DVD contents.

Read the advisory. Each time a new DVD/CD is put in, media player asks Microsoft for a title and track listing, gets the result and stores it in a local database file. It does not request again if you insert the same movie. So other than 'first use' there is no usage log.

I'm not clear on what the id-string is used on the request. Microsoft is no different than Gracenote who gets your IP, operating system, etc if you put a CD in when you're running XMCD and its configured to asks CDDB/Gracenote for CD track listings.

I've been using CDDB for years. This is no different than before. It's a bunch of privacy concerns for an established method of CD title/track requests (extended to DVDs now apparantly).

This is basically CDDB (2, Insightful)

three14 (725) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042898)

All the article says is that Windows Media Player does a CDDB lookup when it plays a CD, and caches the result.
If you look in your home directory on your Linux box, you'll probably find a similar cache.
Someone just noticed that you can reconstruct people's listening habits from their CDDB lookups - no big deal.

Re:This is basically CDDB (5, Insightful)

nrosier (99582) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042966)

On the surface it might look like just a CDDB-a-like lookup, but why do they also send a WMP-unique ID? If it was just a lookup, there wouldn't be this much fuss about it. The use of the unique ID has only one purpose: collect user-specific data.

This is a ways off topic, but... (1, Offtopic)

Sarcasmooo! (267601) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042899)

Does anyone know of a site where MS' misdeeds (like this one) are summed up all in a nice, neat, and concise way? I'm asking because I tend to voice my dislike for microsoft whenever the topic comes up, and people usually ask me what my basis is. Usually it goes something like: 'What do you mean I should get linux? What's wrong with Microsoft Windows?'

The thing is, I've been not liking Microsoft for so long that I've lost track of all the reasons I don't like......Microsoft. I remember big stuff like fake letters to state AG's, a fake video to support the claim that IE is stuck to the OS, a lawsuit against a charity that gave away computers with Windows on them.........but I know there's tons more. And I know someone out there must have a nice, detailed timeline........right?

Re:This is a ways off topic, but... (1)

rosewood (99925) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043001)

http://slashdot.org/search.pl?topic=158 (Privacy)

http://slashdot.org/search.pl?topic=109 (MS)

That pretty much covers it

maybe even http://slashdot.org/search.pl?topic=123 (Courts)

Re:This is a ways off topic, but... (2)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043030)

Don't forget that it's way cool to hate MS. Once you're in that crowd, you's instantly popular.

Re:This is a ways off topic, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3043062)

You have forgott why you have MS because you are l33t. Probably the only reason you run linux is so that you can say Windows suxxors, and to show how l33t you are to you friends.

Why ask of clueless people to start using linux when all we are going to get is a few worms for some of the default daemons in the more widespread "newuser dists"
(read Redhat/Mandrake).

*puts some gasoline on the flames*

I'm Flabbergasted! (1)

thedbp (443047) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043063)



Here i am on /., and not one soul has mentioned the venerable http://www.fuckmicrosoft.com

If you guys have been missing out on this ... whew! i mean, you can buy BEER STEINS that say fuckmicrosoft. how cool would that be for the next Red Hat Bar-B-Q?

Text version in case slashdot is slashdotted! (-1)

Mayor McPenisman (557253) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042902)

lcypher writes "The AP is reporting that there is spyware within Windows Media Player 8(which ships with XP), which records the song titles and DVD titles that a user listens to or views in WMP8. Microsoft execs claim no marketing use right now, but they won't rule it out. " This looks like less of a big deal than the article makes it out to be, but it definitely could be used for evil.

We'd like to inform you (5, Insightful)

Tremul (190113) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042903)

Several weeks ago when you bought our webcam, we decided that for non-related marketing purposes that we would randomly start recording data and sending it back to the company. We don't intend to sell these pictures to anyone.

WM6 was the last decent player (1)

Chicks_Hate_Me (528837) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042906)

In my opinion Windows Media Player 6.x was the best WM version. After that (WM7, WM8) it got overly bloated (it's pretty!), takes forever to load, and looks like crap.

As a Winblows user... (2)

under_score (65824) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042907)

I admit it, I use windows. I have a couple legit copies of WinME. Every time I use media player (rarely), I have to refuse to upgrade... Which brings me to my real point: I will not upgrade past this point (WinME). WinME is it for me. It may not be great, but it runs what I need it to: lots of different sorts of development stuff (mostly java), CAD and 3D stuff, games, etc. I'm a serious software engineer and when I want to deploy I use either FreeBSD or RedHat Linux. And I always keep those up to date (relatively). But Winblows is stuck for me... and this is just another reason.

Re:As a Winblows user... (1, Offtopic)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043005)

What about Windows 2000?

It seems to be more stable/better support than ME.

Re:As a Winblows user... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3043016)

that's what all those old guys on win3.1 say.
i finally gave in and put xp on mine until i can get some propper linux hardware, but i agree, the new media players are way too fruity for me.

-----
There's no such thing as a stupid question,
but there sure alot of inquisitive idiots.

Re:As a Winblows user... (1)

vortmax(OU) (445229) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043047)

My question is this. I use the old mplayer2.exe, because it's not as bloated as WMP7 or 8. Does the mplayer2.exe do this as well??

Winamp does this too (3, Interesting)

Glonk (103787) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042908)

By default Winamp logs "anonymous usage statistics" unless you turn it off during the install.

You can also turn off WMP's unique identifier thing if you're worried about privacy.

Honestly though, set down your tinfoil hats for a second: Why do we really care?
Really?

Maybe it's just me but I honestly don't care if some site logs that I viewed porn from so and so site for so many minutes. Why should I?

I also have very serious doubts that MS would ever sell the information it'd collect from it. The money from that is absolutely tiny and the feedback from the public would be absolutely horrible. What I see instead is a more personalized music service, kind of like Launch.com, where it personalizes and gives you music and movie picks based upon what you watch. Amazon does this too when you're logged in, keeping track of recently viewed items, etc.

Re:Winamp does this too (4, Insightful)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042970)

Maybe it's just me but I honestly don't care if some site logs that I viewed porn from so and so site for so many minutes. Why should I?

You don't. I do. I don't need a reason to want to keep people out of my personal life. Rather, they need a good reason to butt into it.

Max

Re:Winamp does this too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3043029)

Here's a newsflash for you:

Nothing is private on the internet. If you're worried about someone finding out about your kiddie porn collection don't get it online and store it on your computer.

You're kidding yourself if you honestly think people can't find out what you're watching without the aid of things like this in programs.

Re:Winamp does this too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3042987)

Yippee,

So now all that prOn that I've been watching, when mom comes to use the computer to watch a DVD or play a CD while writing a letter; she will get

XXXX Celb Nudes - Live Video FEED...
Just you way you like 'em!!! Yes, we mean you
Mr. YYYYYY

Great, there goes my lifestyle!

Re:Winamp does this too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3043003)

I think you'd deserve that if you're too stupid to figure out how to disable the unique identifier in WMP. :)

Logging and DMCA ? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3042913)

Maybe this is MS's attempt at remainng within the DMCA. If they know what you are watching/llistening to, then they can report more accuratly to the DMCA. After, isnt MS Windows just another product that you can pirate movies on ?? Maybe they want to minimise the effect of being sued, if they can say "Hey, lok we are already monitering everyone anyway"

"It's all building up to something....... (1)

Dr_Marvin_Monroe (550052) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042915)

...something that can only be cleansed with fire"...

Consider the facts...WMA spyware....Sonny Bono Copyright act....Internet radio IP payments......

...I could figure it all out too if I could get my foil hat working correctly....but the directions jammed in the laser printer at work yesterday.....time for the therapy mallets!

Perhaps the Supreme Court will save us.

Re:"It's all building up to something....... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3043000)

I wonder if the Supreme Court can see the problem clearly. They are using Microsoft products to write their decisions on. This point is subtle but not mute! The subtle complacency that comes with the use of MS products errodes our ability to make clear decisions. This is the problem.

mnf@pied.com
sys min

Re:"It's all building up to something....... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3043049)

moot. MOOT. not "mute". "Mute" means they can't talk. moot means irrelevant. MOOT MOOT moot MOOT not MUTE.

Exaggeration! (1)

drdink (77) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042916)

The bulletin [computerbytesman.com] I saw on bugtraq said nothing about tracking songs. On top of that, Microsoft disputes [computerbytesman.com] the bulletin and issues in it, but the author is blantently ignoring their direct responses to all of his points. this is an extreme exaggeration that seems to be driven by the "fear big old Microosft" camp. It is a feature, not spyware.

Re:Exaggeration! (2)

Krieger (7750) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042976)

It's a feature if it only caches it.

It's spyware when it sends the data back to Microsoft.

Re:Exaggeration! (1)

drdink (77) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043031)

The "cookie" sent to Microsoft when requesting the DVD chapters is not reliably linkable back to the client user. As Microsoft has already said, you can clear cookies to remove it. You can also Work Offline to not even make the request in the first place. Did you even read Microsoft's response?

Misleading titles (2)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042921)

I don't usually like the fine sounds of knees jerking, so for you folks who didn't even read the text under the title, here is a friendly notice:

False:Windows Tracks CDs & DVDs You Watch

True:Windows Media Player 8 Tracks Media played.

And the most important piece of information in the article is: "If you're watching DVDs you don't want your wife to know about, you might not want to give her your password," said David Caulton, Microsoft's lead program manager for Windows Media."

Re:Misleading titles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3042946)

And the practical difference is what exactly?

Re:Misleading titles (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042974)

"False: Windows Tracks CDs & DVDs You Watch

True: Windows Media Player 8 Tracks Media played."

"And the practical difference is what exactly?"

The difference is that windows users have a choice as to whether or not they use WMP 8. But they don't know the first thing about alternative OSs. It's not like they are in a situation where they are forced to be subject to what the article is describing.

Sympathy for the KharmaPussy (-1, Offtopic)

KharmaPussy (560384) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042928)

Please allow me to introduce myself I'm a man of wealth and taste I've been around for a long, long year Stole many a man's soul and faith

And I was 'round when Jesus Christ Had his moment of doubt and pain Made damn sure that Pilate Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you Hope you guess my name (KharmaPUSSY!) But what's puzzling you Is the nature of my game I stuck around St. Petersburg When I saw it was a time for a change Killed the czar and his ministers Anastasia screamed in vain

I rode a tank Held a general's rank When the blitzkrieg raged And the bodies stank

Pleased to meet you Hope you guess my name, oh yeah (KharmaPUSSY!)Ah, what's puzzling you Is the nature of my game, oh yeah (whoo whoo, whoo whoo)

I watched with glee While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades For the gods they made
(whoo whoo) I shouted out, "Who killed the Kennedys?" When after all It was you and me
(whoo whoo, whoo whoo)

Let me please introduce myself I'm a man of wealth and taste And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached Bombay (whoo whoo, whoo whoo)

Pleased to meet you Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah Oh Yeah (KharmaPUSSY!)
But what's puzzling you Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby (whoo whoo, whoo whoo)
(whoo whoo)(whoo whoo) (KharmaPUSSY!) ..........

Pleased to meet you Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah (KharmaPUSSY!)But what's confusing you
Is just the nature of my game (whoo whoo, whoo whoo) Just as every cop is a criminal And all the sinners saints As heads is tails Just call me KharmaPUSSY! 'Cause I'm in need of some restraint (NOT!) (whoo whoo, whoo whoo)

So if you meet me Have some courtesy Have some sympathy, and some taste (whoo whoo) Use all your well-learned politesse (whoo whoo) Or I'll lay your(woo woo) soul to waste,(whoo whoo), um yeah
(whoo whoo)

Pleased to meet you Hope you guessed my name, (KharmaPUSSY!) um yeah (KharmaPUSSY!) But what's puzzling you Is the nature of my game, um mean it, get down (whoo whoo)
(whoo whoo)............

Woo, who Oh yeah, get on down
Oh yeah (whoo whoo, whoo whoo)
(whoo whoo, whoo whoo)........
Oh yeah!
(whoo, whoo)
(whoo whoo, whoo, whoo)

Tell me baby,(whoo whoo) what's my name
Tell me honey,(whoo whoo) can ya guess my name
Tell me baby, (whoo whoo) what's my name
I tell you one time, (whoo whoo) you're to blame

Oh, who (whoo whoo)
Woo, who (whoo whoo)
Woo, who (whoo whoo)
Alright (whoo whoo)
Woo, whoo who(whoo whoo)
Woo, who, who (whoo whoo)
Woo, who, who (whoo whoo)
Oh, yeah (whoo whoo)
Woo, who, who
Woo, who, who
Oh yeah, ah whats my name
(whoo whoo)
Tell me, baby, what's my name (whoo whoo)
Tell me, sweetie, what's my name (KharmaPUSSY!)

Woo, who, who (whoo whoo)
Woo, who, who (whoo whoo)
Woo, who, who (whoo whoo)
Woo, who, who (whoo whoo)
Woo, who, who (whoo whoo)
Woo, who, who (whoo whoo)
Oh, yeah!
Whoo whoo
Whoo whoo

So what? (1, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042931)

What's the big deal? It's just a local cache. Winamp does the same thing, as well as all the other multimedia programs I've tried, so you don't have to redownload. I'd only get upset if they started using it for marketing purposes--they "wouldn't rule it out"--but, otherwise, big deal.

Usenet binary files? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3042935)

Ok, but what about all those files I download off alt.binaries.multimedia.erotica?

You know, stuff like:
britney_blows_me.wmv
christina_getting_scr ewed.wmv

Will it tell Microsoft that I've been watching them? And how often?

super cookie in m$ media player (1)

phyta (560544) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042941)

I forgot where i read this recently, but it was known as the 'microsoft media player supercookie exploit'.

There is an option to 'allow sites to uniquely identify your player' that features essentially creates a cookie that persists through reboot and clearing of caches in the system.

Even if this was not intentional, I do expect such things from closed-source software.

--
Tis man's perdition to be safe, when for the truth he ought to die.

This has been going on for ages... (2)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042947)

...but now it is presented as an inciteful act in a slashdot article and we are all up in arms.

Quoth the article: "Microsoft said the program creates the log file so a user does not have to download repeatedly the same track, album or movie information. The company said the ID number was created simply to allow Media Players users to have a personal account on the Web site dealing with the software."

It's just a client side cache. That's all. The windows CD player has done this since at least windows 3.1 (although the user had to enter the track titles by hand.)

Re:This has been going on for ages... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3043002)

Of course, this client side cache -- actually any information on your Windows computer -- should be considered accessible to MS should they decide to look at it.

Have you read Microsoft's EULA recenty? Really...

There's a large organization in the county I live in that has decreed that XP *will not* be installed on *any* computer on their network *under any circumstances* due to concerns about spyware; they have significant amounts of confidential information, and they simply cannot afford to take the chance that MS might be able to legally get away with snooping at any information on their systems. (Of course, they're also scared to death of the security holes that seem inherant in many MS products.)

Odd Interpretation (3, Interesting)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042951)

"...no information is collected on Microsoft's servers that would be personally identifiable..."

So, in other words, Microsoft (having engineered the world's most widely used operating system) still hasn't figured out how to pinpoint where data transfer is coming from. Because it seems to me, oddly, that if I'm sending someone data through a system they set up that I don't know about... they must know about it, and also must know how to analyze the results of all their data-grabbing. And see where the crap is coming from. And keep track of what I'm listening to.

I don't use Windows Media player, personally. But if it ever came down to the log files, I'm sure MS could say to someone who ripped the software: "Actually, you have an unauthorized copy of windowsXP, how else would you be transmitting data through our security loophole with the same key as those twenty thousand other people?"

Turn off Windows Media Player (2)

Krieger (7750) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042957)

Install Winamp and/or some other program that will pre-empt WMP and force it to preserve file associations. I would hope that one of the commericial DVD player programs would do the same thing.

Does Microsoft not learn? Do they not remember the stink over the tracking in Office documents? The stink over the UID with Intel Processors? Why would they think that collecting a list of CDs and DVDs that we've watched/listened to and then transmitting it back to Microsoft is a good idea? I mean seriously the OS has enough problems without having to worry about the damn thing spying on me.

What do we have to do to communicate to companies that we don't want to give them our information, unless we specifically opt-in. How hard is that? I haven't met many people that don't think it's a good idea to do it that way. Privacy is preserved, but you can choose to give away your privacy if they offer you a good enough deal. I always fill out the various opt out policies, but it's scary how often I have to go hunting in legalese to find out exactly where I need to send it.

Re:Turn off Windows Media Player (2)

loraksus (171574) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043026)

"Oh fuck. You caught us [feign death]. Even though we already used the data, we are so sorry and promise to never, ever ever do it again. We really mean it this time."
Not to sound like an open source bigot (actually, even if a program is open source, most people won't even bother looking at source code, dare you say actually compiling it) but there is a reason that this code was put in, you can be sure that placing a more or less unique code into an online database was a bitch to program, so it wasn't put in there without a reason.

What can I say, at lease MS is changing their privacy policy, even though they aren't doing much else about it.

Arrogant companies piss me off, what can I say...
bah

No Worries (2, Informative)

jeepthang (560529) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042960)

While obviously spyware is a ripe pain in the ass. It only spies on two formats; DVDs and CDs. So: Who out there running Windows XP actually uses Windows Media Player to view their DVDs? Almost all retail video cards equipped for DVD playback come with DVD software. There are also a few wonderful third party DVD players. And who listens to CDs? I assume everyone out there rips their CDs to MP3, and then listens through winamp or the like. Bah. -Jeepthang

haha (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3042962)

slashdot is so fucking ridiculous!

A Quote From The Statement: (2)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042968)

Logging
Logging occurs when information is sent from the Player to a streaming media server. Logging informs the server of various pieces of information so that services can be improved. The information includes such details as: connection time, Internet protocol (IP) address of the computer that connected to the server, Player version, Player identification (ID) number, date, protocol, and so on. Most information is neither unique, nor traceable to your machine.


My god man! What else do they want to take? Not traceable to my static IP? The Player ID Number? Who the hell are they kidding when they say it isn't unique?

This is a load of horseshit, thats what it is. Microsoft is babbling at the general public with ridiculous lies. I *use* windowsXP because I think it's good software, and I mildly support microsoft in some things, but my lord, this "informative privacy statement" is crap.

I plan to submit a /. story soon: (2, Funny)

Stepto (25864) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042975)

Microsoft uses secret IE tools known as "HISTORY", "CACHE" and user's "IP ADDRESS" TO TRACK EVERYTHING YOU SEE ON THE INTERNET.

I bet it gets 500+ comments.

S.

It's not a log, it's a cache (5, Insightful)

dstone (191334) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042981)

What MediaPlayer is doing is nothing new -- it's equivalent to nearly every other player out there with CDDB (or equiv) capabilities with client-side caching so you don't have to hit the internet database repeatedly for your collection of tunes. BFD. It's not uploading anything back to anyone.

Of course, mainstream media can spoonfeed the word/concept "log" (eg. history, audit, etc.) easier than it can "cache".

Taco, you need to quit assisting the spread of FUD (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3042982)

I quote:

"When a CD is played, the player downloads the disc name and titles for each song from a Web site licensed by Microsoft. That information is stored on a small file on each computer in the latest version of the software."

Wow. As Chris Farley would say, "Lah de freakin dah!"

As far as I know, WMP has always done this. It calls up windowsmedia.com to find out the CD/DVD title and track info. And just like it says, it stores the info on a file on the hard drive... something people know as a "cache." Basically, this is equivalent to saying that "Windows also 'tracks' the recently opened documents by way of the Recent Docs menu on the Start menu." Boy, I bet that could be used for "evil" too. So could your browser cache files.

Oh, but wait. Cache files serve a purpose. They are used to locally store info so you don't have to go fetching them over the net again. No evil there. That's all there is.

Therefore, I am convinced that the author of this article is either:

A) A fucking idiot
B) A Microsoft hater
C) Both A and B
D) CowboyNeal

I'm sick of the "people can find what you watch" stupid asinine conspiracy theories. You know, if your wife saw Picture_Of_Me_Shagging_My_Secretary.jpg in the recent docs menu, I think that would be "just as bad."

What a joke. Slashdot used to post interesting articles, but do you guys just throw them off a flight of stairs now, and the ones that land near the top get posted? Or is it your compulsion to do your duty to CONTINUE TO SPREAD FUD, Taco that has resulted in the decline of the quality of the articles at this site? We'll never know.

NEVER DOES IT SAY THE FILE GETS TRANSFERRED TO MICROSOFT!

Excuse me while a go write an essay about the absolute evil of browser caches, and basically data storage in general, be it magnetic or otherwise, and how they can be used to track your footsteps. Anyone have any good ideas about how this could involve "monopoly."

CDDB does the same thing (3, Informative)

a3d0a3m (306585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042983)

Has anyone else noticed that CDDB [.com] does the same thing? Any program that gets CD information from CDDB, which includes Music Match Jukebox and older betas of Exact Audio Copy [a great program [exactaudiocopy.de] would require an e-mail address before you could automatically download title and track information for CDs that you would insert? Someone should be checking out their privacy statments, because that would let them garner the same information.

Fortunately, their privacy policies [gracenote.com] state otherwise:
Data Aggregation. Gracenote CDDB collects aggregate statistics on which music and artists are most commonly identified by users with the Gracenote CDDB Service. ("Aggregate statistics" means "group statistics" such as the Gracenote Digital Top Ten, not individual statistics about your personal use of the service.) Besides posting these statistics for you and other fans to enjoy, Gracenote CDDB may publish or share this aggregate information with other companies. This aggregate data, by its nature, will not reveal the identity of our users. We also use aggregate data to help us improve our servers and other components of the Gracenote CDDB Service.
It doesn't now, but if an investor comes along with a big suitcase of cash, I wonder if their privacy policy would change overnight?

adam

marketing data? (1)

banky (9941) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042985)

What kind of marketing data are they going to get from "user 3453845 watches the hell out of 'tina3.wmv'"?

Re:marketing data? (2, Interesting)

a3d0a3m (306585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043008)

Why does your local supermarket have a discount card? Remember when sale items didn't require you to scan that little keychain barcode[or enter your phone number at Dominicks] before you get the discount? For some reason that I don't understand, IANAMD [I am not a marketing drone], it is good to know what people purchase. And once you scan in your card, you get your entire purchase recorded, not just the sale items you bought. Someone should check out their privacy policies!

adam

Reality Forces me Into Cynicism (2, Insightful)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042991)

Somebody, give me one example where:

Technology permitted capture of more information about us, our habits, our preferences, our purchases, any activity; and a company or State passed on that opportunity.

Winamp does the same damn thing (2, Insightful)

El Puerco Loco (31491) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042995)

According to the article, media player is just downloading the title and track listings of cds and dvds and storing them so it can display them whenever you put the same disc in. Winamp has been doing this forever, and so have a billion other media apps. Microsoft may indeed be conspiring to take over the world and subject us all to their evil whims, but this feature doesn't really seem to have much to do with that diabolical plan.

Bill Gates (0, Flamebait)

alec314159 (544585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3042996)

After reading the article, I think I speak for many of us when I say "Bill Gates, you are a son of a bitch!"

Microsft Execs like Porno (0)

MikeD83 (529104) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043004)

"If you're watching DVDs you don't want your wife to know about, you might not want to give her your password," said David Caulton, Microsoft's lead program manager for Windows Media.

Microsoft Exec admitts to "wrestling the one eyed monster" to porno DVDs. Oh wait, Microsoft is the one eyed monster.

Billy Boy (2, Funny)

Loki_1929 (550940) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043006)

I'm thinking Bill Gates is just trying to get a nice fat list of popular DVDs so he can run and download them from DALnet.

<BillGates> Gee fellas, could you please help me download good pornographic films?
<@Antel> lol, get out of here you l0ser
<BillGates> But wait, I'm really desperate here. I gotta OC-48 and a 12TB IBM RAID storage tower.
*** Antel sets mode +b BGates@microsoft.com
*** BillGates was kicked from #pr0n by Antel (get lost you geek!)

not just CDDB (4, Insightful)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043014)

As part of downloading the information about songs and movies from the Web site, the program also transmits an identifier number unique to each user on the computer. That creates the possibility that user habits could be tracked and sold for marketing purposes.

The same company that assigns you a unique number for the downloads you make also has the database you were required to register with in order to activate your WindowsXP. Manipulated properly it would be a rather simple task to match a real name and address with what you watch on media player - especially if this 'unique number' and the registration number for XP were one and the same.

And note that Microsoft hasn't ruled out using the data for marketing purposes. Imagine the look on your spouse's face when you suddenly start getting free trial issues of Spanking Teen Cheerleaders! . Or the look on your face when the FBI comes crashing through the door because an 'anonymous tip' from a 'reputable source' claims that you were watching illegal porn videos.

Max

Re:not just CDDB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3043052)

And note that Microsoft hasn't ruled out using the data for marketing purposes. Imagine the look on your spouse's face when you suddenly start getting free trial issues of Spanking Teen Cheerleaders! . Or the look on your face when the FBI comes crashing through the door because an 'anonymous tip' from a 'reputable source' claims that you were watching illegal porn videos.

Wow! That is so insightful... I'm sure that will happen.

Perhaps it would be better for the rest of us if you just quit posting garbage, remove your head from your asshole, and entered the real world

I'm not surprised (1)

thedbp (443047) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043041)

Sure, they aren't selling it now - you need at least a year of good hard data that can be proven useful before the companies will start shelling out millions to have what is, in a way, a perfect Neilson-rating type system, only everybody using WinXP is a participant, many of whom I'm imagining would be unwilling.

It wouldnt' be so bad if it weren't user-specific and identifiable.

All I can say is thank god I bought a Mac.
______________________________

It's Windoze, who cares (0, Flamebait)

God_Retired (44721) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043048)

Sorry for another rant about /.

Who cares? I don't use Windows. I don't care. I used to have a partition so my kid could play games, but I figured fuck it, he can play outside.

Windows blows. Anyone who has done a couple complete installs of Windows can install Linux. Anyone who can read a book can get around Linux. I don't care about people who think Linux is hard. Fuck 'em.

I don't want to destroy Windows or anything, just who the fuck cares? Windows is an evil corporation, Windows has fundamental problems with their security. Windows doesn't play fair. I don't give a flip about any of these topics. I'm interested in News that Matters. None of these topics are going to change the minds of people who like Windows or Linux. Windows users get what they deserve. Fuck 'em.

Goddamit I'm going to another site. No, screw that, I'm going to bed. And all you dickheads who feel the need to reply to this or mod it can fuck yourselves as well. Fuck 'em all.

Phew. I feel better.

MS has no reason to do this! (1)

soopertoad (560557) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043057)

It's not so much that I worry about what microsoft might do with the information (the only possible thing that I can think of that MS could do would be to provide "services" to people by spamming us with ads). This article bothers me because MS has no reason to do this. I'm a mac user, iTunes accesses CDDB and stores the info on my computer. why did microsoft see it "critical" to make it part of WMP to store the info on MS's servers. it serves no purpose

What could somebody do with this data? (3, Interesting)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 12 years ago | (#3043058)

Just curious. This issue's new to me and I'm curious what the privacy advocates are worried about.

I'm a little concerned that MS might detect that I ripped a DVD so I could use a particular clip as reference footage for an animation I'm working on, perhaps use the DMCA to fine me for it. Other than that I don't really care if they know what I'm watching or not.

Is there a larger problem I should be aware of? Could somebody explain to me what MS or anybody else could do with data about what movies I watch, or what websites I visit, or whether I'm attracted to either T or A that would be bad?

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