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Planning the Future of Privacy at Microsoft

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | from the genuine-disadvantage dept.

138

Tony writes "Peter Cullen, Microsoft's chief privacy strategist, found himself in the front line in the wake of the software giant's recent antipiracy controversy. He talks about his role at the company, and what's in store for the future." From the interview: "Cullen, Microsoft's chief privacy strategist, has been very involved with the issue and readily admits that the software maker dropped the ball on WGA Notifications. The flap puts him on the front line, rather than his usual role behind the scenes. For the most part, Cullen, who joined Microsoft three years ago from the Royal Bank of Canada in Toronto, is happy with his role at the software giant. He works on things such as guidelines for developers and privacy policies."

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138 comments

Put some elbow into it! (4, Interesting)

conner_bw (120497) | about 8 years ago | (#15653995)

Royal Bank of Canada, where do I know that name? Oh right, incompetence [slashdot.org] and SCO investments [slashdot.org] a plenty. Microsoft is in good hands, no really!

Microsoft seems to do this alot (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654022)

and by "this" I mean rewarding people who help them kill competitors.

Remember when SGI was a Unix company and a leader in 64-bit computing with their high end MIPS chips and then they switched to become a Wintel reseller and drop their chips and started selling Windows and practically stopped devloping their Unix? Well, if you look at who made that decision (Belluzzo), Microsoft hired the guy and made him a company president [theregister.co.uk]

Remember when HP was a Unix company and a leader in 64-bit computing with their high end PA-Risk chips and then they switched to become a Wintel reseller and drop their chips and started selling Windows and practically stopped devloping their Unix? Well Microsoft hired that guy and made him a company President too (oh yeah, it was the same guy).

This is what I expected to happen long ago, and posted on Groklaw (as an AC, of course) -- I bet Darl and friends get executive positions at Microsoft or a Microsoft backed company as rewards for their service too.

Re:Microsoft seems to do this alot (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654068)

More speculation of MSFT hiring people who betray other companies for rewards here [slashdot.org] and here [osnews.com] and here [slashdot.org]

Re:Microsoft seems to do this alot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654816)

Pssst. Google seems to do it too. Right out from Microsoft. It's pretty standard with companies... execs just jump from company to company.

Re:Microsoft seems to do this alot (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15655106)

This is different. Belluzzo was apparently rewarded for killing the R&D in the companies he was supposed to be helping. In effect, he was a Microsoft mole who took down 2 leading unix vendors from the inside. Whether intentionally or through phenomenal incompetence could be debated; but there's no question that as an exec in HP and SGI he pretty much made decisions 100% in favor of microsoft while causing great harm to his employers at the time.

The analogy would be if Google payed off some Microsoft Exec for keeping Windows as insecure and buggy as it is. -- Hey. Where's Allchin going anyway?

Re:Put some elbow into it! (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 8 years ago | (#15654063)

Royal Bank is particularly incompetent in the IT department, I wonder how Microsoft came to hire somebody from such a famously inept organization. Birds of a feather perhaps?

Re:Put some elbow into it! (1)

BrynM (217883) | about 8 years ago | (#15654282)

Royal Bank is particularly incompetent in the IT department, I wonder how Microsoft came to hire somebody from such a famously inept organization. Birds of a feather perhaps?
Perhaps experience in covering up and diffusing major mistakes? Snow jobbing cutomers? Obfuscating incompetance? MS has need of those.

Re:Put some elbow into it! (4, Interesting)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15654312)

Wasn't RBC one of the big PIPE investors or a front for an investor that bankrolled the SCO v. IBM case? There are already threads from that leading back to MS*. Is this another?

*MS execs "advised" RBC to invest in SCO.

RBC != SCO investor (3, Informative)

gravyface (592485) | about 8 years ago | (#15654456)

Informative? Please read at least some of the comments you're citing [slashdot.org] before spreading the FUD.

Re:Put some elbow into it! (1)

bmo (77928) | about 8 years ago | (#15654839)

"Royal Bank of Canada, where do I know that name? Oh right, incompetence and SCO investments a plenty. Microsoft is in good hands, no really!"

It gets even better for the conspiracy nut

  ||three years ago from the Royal Bank of Canada||

3 years ago?

Which would put that, what, at the beginning of the SCO/Caldera scam^W lawsuit?

RBC, Baystar, Microsoft - thick as thieves.

--
BMO

its for you own good thing (1)

theaddkid.com (983011) | about 8 years ago | (#15654042)

"..but in actual fact, it is about the security and privacy of the users. Some research that we've done finds that the incidence of malware (malicious software) is a lot higher on pirated software, so we really are trying to make sure that users really have the opportunity to protect themselves. " I really hope no one believes this whole its for you own good thing I mean come on its about the oldest pr trick in the world.

Re:its for you own good thing (4, Insightful)

bcat24 (914105) | about 8 years ago | (#15654060)

But people are going to believe it. They don't know any better and they don't care. Most people just want a computer that works and if they have to sell their soul to get it, they will. Especially if Microsoft says it's "for their protection".

Its for you own good thing-Drink Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654090)

"But people are going to believe it. They don't know any better and they don't care. Most people just want a computer that works and if they have to sell their soul to get it, they will. Especially if Microsoft says it's "for their protection"."

*Blah!* *Blah!* I'm better than everyone else. *Blah!* *Blah!* Typical slashdot.

Re:Its for you own good thing-Drink Slashdot. (0, Flamebait)

AlgorithMan (937244) | about 8 years ago | (#15654344)

so you are also one of the guys that say "alright, the NSA spies on me and listens to ALL my phone calls - well it's for fighting terrorism so it's neccessary like everything that the president declares neccessary against terrorism"

Re:Its for you own good thing-Drink Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654573)

No I'm one of the guys who actually uses his God-given brain instead of some made up slash-stereotype. That then gets modded up by likeminded non-thinkers. The parent thinks he's better than everyone else (ask him if he's part of the group he's disparaging "Oh no sir! Not me! It's all those other people falling for a working computer. Meanwhile I'll be trying to get my notebook to run Linux"). Arrogent SOBs.

Re:its for you own good thing (4, Insightful)

killjoe (766577) | about 8 years ago | (#15654651)

"Most people just want a computer that works and if they have to sell their soul to get it, they will."

This is the most often repeated meme on slashdot and it could not be more wrong. If what you say is true then Apple would be ruling the world today not MS. Every year for the last three decades apple products have been better at "just working" then MS products. They have always been easier, they have always been more cohesive. So why is MS ruling supreme and not the mac?

1) People want their computers cheap as possible.
2) People want their computers to run the same software they use at work so they can take work home.
3) People want their computers to be able to worked on by the neigbors kid or the guy across the street.
4) People want to be able their computers on impulse at the local best buy.
5) People want their computers to run the games they like.

That's it. "just works" doesn't come in to it. It never has, it never will. People do and have put up with crappy, unstable, unsecure, crash happy MS operating systems for years because of the five factors I have listed.

Time to put that meme to bed.

Re:its for you own good thing (2, Insightful)

NormalVisual (565491) | about 8 years ago | (#15654852)

There might be a couple more to add to that list:
  • People are familiar with their Windows boxes, and most don't like to stray outside their comfort zone.
  • It's a lot easier to get Windows software you want via casual copying/trading, just because there are more opportunities to do so
Every year for the last three decades apple products have been better at "just working" then MS products. They have always been easier, they have always been more cohesive.

Somewhat. Apple didn't gain a real edge on user-friendliness until the Mac was introduced in 1984 (I'm pointedly excluding the first-gen Lisa because there just weren't that many sold), and prior to that Microsoft (who hadn't gotten into the OS game until 1981) was a big contributor to Apple's success via their Applesoft interpreter that shipped with the Apple II. Ease-of-use wasn't a big thing for the Apple II or III. For instance, if you wanted to use a floppy disk on an Apple II, you had to perform a "PR#6" command after boot to initialize the controller. Need 80-column text? "PR#3" did the trick, but only if you had an 80-column card or an Apple IIe - not exactly intuitive. ProDOS made things easier, but particularly back in the DOS 3.2/3.3 days, you actually had to know something about your machine if you wanted to get anything done.

Re:its for you own good thing (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 years ago | (#15655496)

But here's the problem.

1) This is the major problem. People don't think it's worth it to spend twice as much for a Mac. This is the only problem that has ever existed with Macs.
2) If Mac was as ubiquitous as windows, then at work they would be running Macs, and then you could run a Mac at home with no problems.
3) There would be more people to work on Macs including the neighbour's kid or the guy across the street, if Mac was as popular as windows.
4) Best buy would stock a lot more Macs if that is what people were buying. As it stands right now, not enough people buy Macs, so it's not worth it for them to put it on their shelves. It's not like they're against selling Apple products, because they have tons of iPods, and it's not like you can't buy an apple computer retail, it's just that most stores don't think it brings in enough money to take up precious shelf space with Macintosh computers.
5) Games would be made for Mac if there was more people using them. Plain and simple.

Re:its for you own good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654857)

But people are going to believe it. They don't know any better and they don't care. Most people just want a nation that's secure and if they have to sell their liberties to get it, they will. Especially if the Government says it's "for their protection".

Re:its for you own good thing (0, Troll)

madcow_bg (969477) | about 8 years ago | (#15655443)

Yeeeees.... That is so *NOT* like Bush and his scumbag company in the White House.

Re:its for you own good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654104)

i have been running a pirated copy of GNU/Linux and have not gotten any malware...

Re:its for you own good thing (1)

Darkinspiration (901976) | about 8 years ago | (#15654139)

And of course disabling the ability of pirated or assumed pirated windows software to access windows update slow's down the rate of malware.... sure. right. as blocking all the redistribuable behing wga... nope this guy dosent impress me much, seem to me he's dormat.

Planning.. (5, Funny)

doubtless (267357) | about 8 years ago | (#15654059)

I thought I had read Planning the future of piracy at Microsoft..

Re:Planning.. (1)

solitas (916005) | about 8 years ago | (#15654244)

I thought I had read Planning the future of piracy at Microsoft..

Ouch.
Beer.
Nose.
*SNORT*
Ouch.

Re:Planning.. (1)

bunbuntheminilop (935594) | about 8 years ago | (#15654428)

++

you're not the only one!

Re:Planning.. (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 8 years ago | (#15655156)

I thought I had read Planning the future of piracy at Microsoft..

The rebels will be hunted down and the young Andersson will be one of us.

This version of the Barratry Star is invincible, apart from having large enough holes in its hull armor to drive a ship through, literally. Who [piratbyran.org] would ever dare to challenge [thepiratebay.org] the IP Empire [bsa.org] ?

Re:Planning.. (1)

CdXiminez (807199) | about 8 years ago | (#15655236)

I read that first line right, but then I thought I read about the software giant's recent antiprivacy controversy...

Optimus Prime works for Microsoft? (1)

Silly Burrito (660854) | about 8 years ago | (#15654061)

Dang, this is the first I've heard of it. I wonder if the Matrix has ever gotten the BSOD.

Re:Optimus Prime works for Microsoft? (1)

AnyThingButWindows (939158) | about 8 years ago | (#15654146)

Do you not remember the first one? Where the screen read "System Failure" as Neo locked it up?

Re:Optimus Prime works for Microsoft? (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 8 years ago | (#15654381)

Nice try, but Wrong Matrix.

Re:Optimus Prime works for Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654405)

Yea, it was the 1st one. Watch the ending.

Re:Optimus Prime works for Microsoft? (1)

dreemernj (859414) | about 8 years ago | (#15654294)

Yes he works for MS. But its against his will. Bill Gates is actually a Quintesson that has taken control of the great Convoy himself.

Re:Optimus Prime works for Microsoft? (1)

Silly Burrito (660854) | about 8 years ago | (#15654399)

So, is Steve Ballmer Galvatron, Cyclonus, or perhaps more of a Grimlock?

Re:Optimus Prime works for Microsoft? (1)

Gleng (537516) | about 8 years ago | (#15655410)

So, is Steve Ballmer Galvatron, Cyclonus, or perhaps more of a Grimlock?

Definitely a Grimlock.

"ME BALLMER THROW CHAIR"

Re:Optimus Prime works for Microsoft? (1)

PhotoBoy (684898) | about 8 years ago | (#15655519)

That wins the funniest thing on the Internet award today!

"privacy strategist"? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654074)

If Microsoft has someone with that title then it means that they are already compromizing privacy.

new policy: "don't get caught so easily" (5, Funny)

EllynGeek (824747) | about 8 years ago | (#15654085)

They have the finest coders in the world, surely they can spy on users and invade their systems without being caught so easily. Why, they look like amateurs when Zone Alarm finks them off on the first try.

Re:new policy: "don't get caught so easily" (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 8 years ago | (#15655126)

Sure they could work around firewalls that are installed on the Windows computer itself. But eventually someone would get them by monitoring the traffic on his Linux router =>
back to square one plus accusations for circumventing the Windows firewall application.

Off topic, but... (5, Interesting)

sillysnipes (868150) | about 8 years ago | (#15654096)

Windows Error Reporting, for example, has privacy built into it. When there is a problem with the system we want to know about that, because it is perhaps the only way that we can fix it. But we also understand that you need to have the choice about whether the information is sent. So, before it gets sent, you have to affirmatively say "please send".

...I hate that "Send/Don't Send" screen with a passion. Why not just tell us the error message instead so we can try and fix it?

Re:Off topic, but... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654108)

... because you can't fix it. It's closed source, remember?

Re:Off topic, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654197)

I beleive you can choose to view the information being sent. Though typically the error would be very hard to debug from this information alone.

Stuart Bowers

Re:Off topic, but... (5, Funny)

Phraghg (984220) | about 8 years ago | (#15654231)

Because getting a detailed error report for most users is scarier than the fact that an error occured at all. Hence the spinning beachball of doom on Mac OSX :).

Re:Off topic, but... (1)

Pzychotix (949807) | about 8 years ago | (#15654288)

Have you ever sent one of those error reports? I know I didn't for the longest time, but they're actually just looking into the microsoft database and telling you what's the problem. If you knew what the hell it actually did, you'd know that sending it would GIVE you that "error message" that you so wanted. Plus it helps less tech savvy people who can't understand anything of the inner workings of a computer by showing exactly (most of the time) what the problem is.

Please, just try it out. You may find it useful.

Re:Off topic, but... (2, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | about 8 years ago | (#15654400)

Please, just try it out

I tried it probably a dozen times.

Each and every single time it came back telling me there was no additional information. I turned it off. (System Control Panel -> Advanced -> Error Reporting -> Disable Error Reporting for those that might not know how.)

I don't miss it.

Re:Off topic, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654441)

I turned it off at home, but there's some policy setting or something at my company that turns the damn thing back on no matter what I do. Rather annoying when I'm intentionally trying to induce crashes, etc...

Re:Off topic, but... (1)

dabraun (626287) | about 8 years ago | (#15654696)

The error reports are logged in a database and the largest buckets get pushed out as bugs for devs to fix. If a fix is already availble you'll get pointed to it. It's up to you want you report but if you want the problems you are seeing to get fixed then reporting them is one way to help that happen.

Re:Off topic, but... (1)

complete loony (663508) | about 8 years ago | (#15654423)

.. and they don't have an option for sending reports to 3rd party developers. It would be nice if I could build a flag or email address into an exe, and hear about types of failures annonymous users are having with my product.

Re:Off topic, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654531)

... and they don't have an option for sending reports to 3rd party developers.

The theory is that Microsoft collects the data and 3rd party devs get it from them. I think you need a Verisign cert or something that equally prevents abuse of the collected information and developers with no budget.

Re:Off topic, but... (1)

Baricom (763970) | about 8 years ago | (#15654746)

They do have an option, but they don't do a particularly good job of advertising or documenting it. Instructions are available at this link [microsoft.com] . I believe access to reports is free, but you need a certificate to get access, which costs several hundred dollars.

I'm not saying this system is ideal - only that it's available if you're looking to pursue it.

Re:Off topic, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654528)

Right-Click "My Computer", select "Properties". Click the "Advanced" tab, and then click the "Error Reporting" button at the bottom of the window. Click "Disable Error Reporting", but make sure you have the option "But notify me when critical error occurs" if you wish to troubleshoot it further.

Is this what you're referring to? If so, it's not hard at all to disable it.

Re:Off topic, but... (4, Informative)

Nkwe (604125) | about 8 years ago | (#15654708)

Why not just tell us the error message instead so we can try and fix it?

If you have memory dumps turned on (My Computer, Properties, Advanced, Startup and Recovery Settings, Write debugging information, Small Memory Dump (or better)), you do get to see the error message. That error message is embedded in the created dump file. In order to see what process or driver faulted the system (the error message), you take that dump file and run it through WinDbg. WinDbg is part of the "Debugging Tools for Windows" package, a free download from Microsoft.

When you say "Send it" to Microsoft, what happens is that the equivalent of a small dump file is sent to Microsoft for automated analysis. WinDbg uses basically the same analysis engine. Assuming whatever crashed your system didn't totally corrupt memory and your stack, WinDbg will tell you what process, processor, and what thread caused the fault. It will also take a good stab at what module (dll, sys file, etc.) was responsible for the fault. If you have enough symbolic information available you may even get a function or stack frame name that is of use.

Mark Russinovich has a book Microsoft Windows Internals, Fourth Edition: Microsoft Windows Server(TM) 2003, Windows XP, and Windows 2000 that has useful information about all this.

Re:Off topic, but... (1)

Keeper (56691) | about 8 years ago | (#15654789)

Because "Access vioation at 0xdededede" isn't an error message you can really troubleshoot. And if you could troubleshoot it, you'd have a debugger installed on the machine that would prevent the dialog from appearing in the first place.

Re:Off topic, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654806)

If it dereferences a NULL pointer, I've been able to figure out what mistake I made before. As it happened, I had left a required paramiter out of the configuration file. Not that crashing is the best way to handle this, but ...

Privacy at Microsoft (4, Funny)

rolyatknarf (973068) | about 8 years ago | (#15654099)

I feel so safe now - I'm getting all wet and squishy.

Privacy at Microsoft-Over easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654158)

"I feel so safe now - I'm getting all wet and squishy."

If I had known it was going to be this easy? I would have done this years ago.

Re:Privacy at Microsoft (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | about 8 years ago | (#15655534)

No, that's due to the CIA's new melting rays.

Dropped the ball?!? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654122)

Doesn't dropping the ball usually imply that it was there to be dropped? The total lack of notifications is more like not bringing the ball to the game, intentionally. Oh, we just forgot to inform you that we're Sure, it's for my own good that you're spying on me and my family and reporting everything to big brother.

Ah, the humility (4, Insightful)

symbolic (11752) | about 8 years ago | (#15654124)

Cullen, Microsoft's chief privacy strategist, has been very involved with the issue and readily admits that the software maker dropped the ball on WGA Notifications.

When I see stuff like this, I don't know what to think. Come on! A chimp could figure out that someone will eventually discover anything you try to get away with, especially when it involves unauthorized communication with unknown servers. They didn't drop the ball, they tried something stupid and got caught. Fess up.

Re:Ah, the humility (1)

Holistic Missile (976980) | about 8 years ago | (#15654361)

They didn't drop the ball, they tried something stupid and got caught.


You are absolutely right - there is a distinction there. Dropping the ball would be, oh, say... something like missing release deadlines by years.

Re:Ah, the humility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654498)

I'm totally with you on this one... Did you read this? ..

It's important to go back to the fundamental goal of Windows Genuine Advantage and the risk of pirated software. A lot of people believe that it might be about the revenue... ...but in actual fact, it is about the security and privacy of the users. Some research that we've done finds that the incidence of malware (malicious software) is a lot higher on pirated software, so we really are trying to make sure that users really have the opportunity to protect themselves.

I think I nearly fell out of my chair laughing at this! Goebbels http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Goebbels/ [wikipedia.org] would be so proud of you!

Re:Ah, the humility (1)

Don_dumb (927108) | about 8 years ago | (#15655341)

They didn't drop the ball, they tried something stupid and got caught. Fess up
Well really they DID drop the ball, not that they were doing something wrong (that is 'having the ball') but in that they were found out.

The analogy reminds me of the Jo Moore scandal - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo_Moore [wikipedia.org]
she attempted to 'bury bad news' behind coverage of the WTC bombings. As she was a PR person many pragmatic observers pointed that what she had done badly was not to have attempted to do this but that she was caught doing it.

The 'ball' is something bad, 'dropping the ball' is the unwanted exposure of the ball. And it seems that Cullen is being so honest here that not many people have have noticed how honest.

The roll-out strategy (2, Funny)

ChicagoFan (125489) | about 8 years ago | (#15654127)

"You could make an argument that, for the good of the user and even the good of the ecosystem, Automatic Updates should be turned on by default. People should have patched machines. But that would be contrary to our belief about user control; users need to have a choice."

"In other words," continued Peter Cullen, "freedom is the right of all sentient beings."

...please... (2, Interesting)

djupedal (584558) | about 8 years ago | (#15654128)

I know it is a holiday, but is this type of word usage necessary...?

...found himself in the front line in the wake of...

'front line' means just that...front...way out in front...

'wake', in the context seemingly indicated here, means 'behind'...'following'...'trailing'...the activity resulting from some other activity.

At least try "..in the wake of the recent xyz, JimBob finds himself on the front lines of having to deal with..."

Re:...please... (1)

Simon Garlick (104721) | about 8 years ago | (#15654338)

No, because then it would still be ghastly mixture of metaphors. The submitter's comment is a land where the hand of effective writing has never set foot.

Re:...please... (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15654373)

So he's tail gunner of the avant-garde?

Re:...please... (1)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | about 8 years ago | (#15655210)

If we can hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominos will fall like a house of cards. Check mate.

Why is it (4, Funny)

Alien54 (180860) | about 8 years ago | (#15654130)

that the discussion of priovacy and Microsoft in the paracgh, never mind the same sentce, strikes me as some sort of oxymoron?

It's not like we're going to see, any time soon, Steve Ballmer, or some other sedate Microsoft exec, dancing around the stage, shouting at the top of their lungs

"Privacy! Privacy! Privacy! Privacy! Privacy! Privacy! Privacy! Privacy! Privacy! Privacy! Privacy! Privacy! Privacy! Privacy! Privacy! Privacy! Privacy! Privacy! "

but stranger things have happened.

There's one other thing... (2, Interesting)

XB-70 (812342) | about 8 years ago | (#15654138)

Regardless of The Royal Bank of Canada's little software upgrade issue (which was an error, not deliberate), bankers would totally freak if their organizations did anything that even hinted at things like Microsoft's WGA. It's obvious that Mr. Cullen is a neophyte who has no idea of the degree of sleaze that he's signed himself up for.

Best of luck, Peter. Welcome to the spotlight!

Privacy... Microsoft? Hah. (4, Funny)

Rendo (918276) | about 8 years ago | (#15654143)

Come on, Microsoft and privacy DO NOT belong in the same sentence. Just like NSA and phone.

Re:Privacy... Microsoft? Hah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654157)

This conversation has been recorded. Black federal sedans are parked outside your house right now.

Re:Privacy... Microsoft? Hah. (3, Funny)

Xuranova (160813) | about 8 years ago | (#15654170)

NSA and phone do belong in the same sentence. They are synomous with each other. MS and privacy are not. I give you a C+ for effort though. :)

Re:Privacy... Microsoft? Hah. (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 8 years ago | (#15654345)

Using NSA and phone together comprimises a breach of state secrets. Your execution squad will be there momentarily.

Re:Privacy... Microsoft? Hah. (2, Interesting)

RM6f9 (825298) | about 8 years ago | (#15654173)

Sure they do - simply incorporate a superlative negative, e.g.:

"The holes in Microsoft product ensure that no one will worry about privacy because with Windows, there's absolutely none to be had."

(suspend pedant mode)

Your ad here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654183)

I just love the your ad here placeholder....

The one day this website sees traffic like this and they havent arranged any ads!

I bet the marketing manager will be crying himself to sleep tonight over all of the 'lost' ad dollars..

Their solution... (2, Funny)

Firehed (942385) | about 8 years ago | (#15654202)

All your privacy are belong to us!

The future of privacy at Microsoft... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654205)

...a boot, stomping on their customers' rights, forever.

An oh yeah, the vast majority of them will just roll over and take it.

Planning the future of Piracy at Microsoft (4, Funny)

Proudrooster (580120) | about 8 years ago | (#15654213)

I think a story title, "Planning the future of Piracy at Microsoft" would be far more interesting. Don't we all want to know how many illegal MP3's Ballmer has on his IPOD. [macboy.com]

Easy job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654234)

Microsoft's (lack of) privacy controls just needs to suck less than Apple, AT&T, Sony and the NSA -- you'll beat all expectations, and slide in under the constant headlines from the others.

WGA is about security and privacy of the users? (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 8 years ago | (#15654236)

What garbage. Why cant we just jail people who lie like this?

Re:WGA is about security and privacy of the users? (2, Interesting)

killjoe (766577) | about 8 years ago | (#15654625)

Because if we did then all the CEOs of the fortune 500 and 90% of the upper management would be in jail.

Come to think of it so would their lawyers.

Well I am in. When do we start the petition drive. Let's get the potheads out of jail and replace them with PHBs and lawyers. The world would be a better place I am sure.

Re:WGA is about security and privacy of the users? (1)

bky1701 (979071) | about 8 years ago | (#15654891)

...Becuase jail is about the security and privacy of the people in it.

Can we say self serving BS? (4, Insightful)

ciellarg (899150) | about 8 years ago | (#15654249)

It's important to go back to the fundamental goal of Windows Genuine Advantage and the risk of pirated software. A lot of people believe that it might be about the revenue... ...but in actual fact, it is about the security and privacy of the users. Some research that we've done finds that the incidence of malware (malicious software) is a lot higher on pirated software, so we really are trying to make sure that users really have the opportunity to protect themselves.
So... WGA is malware designed to help people with pirated software protect themselves? Microsoft doesn't care about the revenue?

Sure it is... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654260)

"...but in actual fact, it is about the security and privacy of the users. Some research that we've done finds that the incidence of malware (malicious software) is a lot higher on pirated software, so we really are trying to make sure that users really have the opportunity to protect themselves."

Riiiiiiight. I'm so sure that Microsoft is trying to help protect all the people that it finds stealing from them. If that was the case, then why force authentication of your software on me? If you were really concerned that my pirated copy of Windows has malware installed, why not use your ineptly disquised spyware to install a scanner and remove your crap, as well as everyone elses, so the users system is clean? Since it's not about the revenue, but about protecting ALL users of your software, legit or not, then you shouldn't have a problem helping thieves clean their pirated install of your crappy software, and making sure that everyone has the current updates. Limiting updates to legit users is ridiculous anyway. How many pirates do you think have a workaround, or at the least, a clandestine WUS server setup for their peers? If it was truly about the privacy and security of the user then they'd actually fix the holes in their code instead of trying to prevent lawsuits with bubblegum and bailing wire fixes.

Trusted Computing (1)

WJMoore (830419) | about 8 years ago | (#15654266)

One of the most gratifying things about Microsoft is that privacy is a core tenet of the company. It's part of the Trustworthy Computing Initiative, which was proclaimed by Bill Gates four-and-a-half years ago.

Yeah TCI is to protect users privacy, not stop piracy and enforce DRM.

The Act of Contrition (2, Interesting)

mpapet (761907) | about 8 years ago | (#15654336)

This is the usual apology after the fact. Americans love this stuff.

Meanwhile plans are afoot for something like WGA. (looks, smells, maybe doesn't quack like wga)

The more minor stories like this get press on /. the more concerned I am it's a big distraction.

There's no action. Linux on the desktop. Now.

I converted two desktop users last week. How many did you convert?

Re:The Act of Contrition (1)

Simon Garlick (104721) | about 8 years ago | (#15654354)

I replaced my Windows laptop with a Macbook, does that count?

Stop phoning home for starters (3, Insightful)

StreamCipher (986418) | about 8 years ago | (#15654473)

Do not provide us with software/OS that phones home unless the user explicitely opts in during setup.

And make it so that the user has to specify what information is shared, for example by clicking on a checkbox next to each description of data sent from their PC.

[ ] IP address?
[ ] GUID?
[ ] MAC?
[ ] Email Address?
[ ] CD Info?
[ ] DVD Info?
[ ] List of installed software?
[ ] ...

Re:Stop phoning home for starters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15655429)

Can we really trust them on the checkboxes?

Let me give an example on Win98 install. Even if you uncheck the checkboxes, the software components still get installed. The only way to make sure is for user to see inside the report file and have full control on HOW to send the data via a third party.

Black is White Good is Evil Welcome to 1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654497)

Microsoft is for Privacy? Black is white and good is evil. Welcome to 1984.

George Orwell was right about everything except the date and the nature of big brother.

He thought it would be the gummit. Turns out it's the gummit in cahoots with Big Bu$ine$$.

Malicious Software = Pirated Software (4, Insightful)

thunderpaws (199100) | about 8 years ago | (#15654587)

Microsfot is again changing the english language.

Here's what I don't get . . . (4, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | about 8 years ago | (#15654614)

they have a guy whose sole job, whose 8-5 is to check up on things like applications phoning home, yet he didn't notice this till recetly? What operating system does he use at home and at his office? Wouldn't an individual in such a position forever have a packet sniffer running, and be running netstat?

Some people say that it doesn't make sense to personify a company and attribute concepts such as 'evil' to it. But I find this diffcult to attribute such lack of sign to simple ignorance.

Re:Here's what I don't get . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654740)

how about simple arrogance?

Protect the users... (2, Insightful)

etabyte (969967) | about 8 years ago | (#15654763)

...but in actual fact, it is about the security and privacy of the users. Some research that we've done finds that the incidence of malware (malicious software) is a lot higher on pirated software, so we really are trying to make sure that users really have the opportunity to protect themselves.

That's the most BS comment I've heard in a while. Is he trying to say that MS is really worried about those people that pirate Windows? If so, then what the hell is Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA). The last I heard was that if WGA detects that your copy of Windows is pirated, it locks you out of the MS download center(or something like that).

Re:Protect the users... (1)

zlogic (892404) | about 8 years ago | (#15655218)

By the "opportunity to protect themselves" they probably mean "opportunity to buy a Windows license with a discount". My pirated copy of Windows fails WGA checks and Microsoft offers me to buy Windows XP Pro for $149, which is a lot less than its store price.
I'd gladly buy a legal copy of Windows, if it
1) didn't have Activation because I often replace my PC's components and I would hate to get a new activation key each time I do a massive upgrade. Oh, and I have 3 PCs and buying a copy of Windows for each one would be insane
2) cost no more than $70

Cullen: A PR flak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15654776)

How is that supposed to work? Company M pays person C to do things company M doesn't like or pays person C to prevent company M doing things it wants to do. It's not going to work, because person C depends on the pay from company M. It's like asking the frogs to dry their own swamp.

Company M owns person C and person C has to put up a dog and pony show for company M. Having a role like chief privacy whatever is a PR stunt, nothing else. I am sure it is well paid.

Peter Cullen sucks at his job. (0, Troll)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 8 years ago | (#15654929)

Peter Cullen, you suck at your job. This is a dumb pr move and you know it. Peter Cullen doesnt care about privacy and until microsoft starts caring... We shall blame Peter Cullen. Peter Cullen sucks at his job. Step up to the plate, Peter Cullen.

microsoft is using your name as damage control, I'm using it until you own up to your horrible doings. Peter Cullen, your name will be assosiated with "liar" until you prove other wise...

Peter Cullen.

One Day in the life of Peter Cullen (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15655010)

10:00am - Alarm goes off, hit snooze a few times.

10:40am - Wake up with a start. Shit! Call the office to let them know that I'm going to be slightly delayed this morning due to an ongoing alien attack. I tell them I'm as keen as hell to be safeguarding users' privacy and all that, but they cut me off at this point and say that I shouldn't worry, take my time getting in, maybe take the day off until the invasion's been repelled? It's really tempting, but there's been too many days like that just lately. I tell them I'll be sure to lock the car doors, keep the windows wound up and take the back routes. "Whatever" they reply...

11:30am - Arrive at the office. Still haven't got a working network socket in my office and no phone either. Last week I tracked down a comms tech and told him about the network socket, he said he had special instructions about my connection and he just hit the wall socket with a big hammer and left. The phone guy saw me approaching and I swear he sprinted into a building and when I tried to follow , my swipecard wouldn't work for that area. How the hell am I supposed to get anything done. Not much point starting anything just yet - it's almost time for lunch.

11:45 - Damn! How was that supposed to be a mine, I mean right there?

12:30 - Lunch. I do hate eating alone, but to date I've attended precisely zero meetings, met my immediate report only once (on the day I arrived) and thus far I haven't met a single other person in the area I work. Every time I step out of my office and wander the halls, all the office doors are closed, usually with a "Do Not Disturb" sign too. There must be a mighty crunch under way.

14:00 - Return to the office. I'm still slightly worried by the lack of direction I'm being given regarding my role and responsibilities. I know MS have some offbeat management practises, so maybe they're creating a situation where I've got to define the role myself. A sort of initiative test, if you will?

15:00 - I've only got a black and white monitor, so how am I supposed to know that I was trying to put a red queen on a black king for half an hour?

15:15 - A guy from maintenance shows up and tells me that my office needs to be treated for cockroaches with some sort of bug-bomb. Apparently it's harmful to humans, so I'm to work from home for the next two weeks while the residues evaporate. Sweet!

16:00 - Home sweet home, and a couple of weeks where I can kick back a little and give some really hard thought about a strategy to safeguard user's privacy. Check the fridge and as usual the two cases of beer have been delivered courtesy of MS. I tell you it's not the easiest company to work for, but the perks are phenomenal! All this booze is ok for me, as my role is agile and flexible, but I sometimes wonder how all the programming dudes manage to stay on track with all this free beer? Pop, fizz, ahhhhh!

16:30 - "What do we mean by *privacy*?" Pop, fizz.

17:15 - "There must be a strategy.." pop, fizz.

19:00 - Damn, I'm tired.

22:00 - My God! The room is spinning, whirling, lurching from side to side! I told you it was a goddam mistake to stand, but would you listen?

22:07 - Bed. Better keep that bucket there again.

ASYMETRIC privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15655048)

I guess this is asymetric privacy we're talking about here.

Dropped the ball???!!! (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | about 8 years ago | (#15655186)

Microsoft didn't drop any balls. They DESIGNED wga to send info to their server and they made installation of wga MANDATORY if you wanted to download critical security updates. The only thing Microsoft has done is to slightly modify wga and post crap like this 'dropped the ball on privacy' stuff to make themselves sound more warm and cuddly. Microsoft is still installing wga and they can (and will) have it do whatever they need it to do in the near future.

Oops. Our bad. Sorry. (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 years ago | (#15655232)

But read the fine print. He didn't say MS is sorry for sniffing around your computers, or spying on you and installing a spy tool on your PC. All he says is that you should've been told that there's gonna be a spyware tool from MS on your machine.

Makes sense. If you knew there is, there would be no grounds for a lawsuit now.
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