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ExtraTorrent.cc > Articles > Microsoft Entangled In WGA Anti-Piracy Lawsuit

Microsoft Entangled In WGA Anti-Piracy Lawsuit

Microsoft Entangled In WGA Anti-Piracy Lawsuit

Added: Monday, October 5th, 2009
Category: Geek Zone > Technology News
Tags:File Sharing, Anti Piracy, Torrents, p2p, Microsoft, Illegal, WGA, lawsuit, monopoly, legal
Microsoft once again is making headlines, and not in the way their public relations board would prefer. Not suprisingly, a lawsuit that was enacted against the software giant Microsoft, is now finally having it's day in court. The lawsuit, which accused Microsoft of lying to it's consumers, by stating that its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) software was a critical security update but in reality, it was a measure used to give the pc owner's data and logs and other private information back to Microsoft, and possibly other U.S. Government agencies.

Microsoft = Monopoly
The plaintiff in the case, had stated in the subpoena and court records, that Microsoft "phoned home" that data to its servers. WGA dates back to 2006, when Microsoft implemented the "critical security" feature into Windows Update, per Windows XP. The outrage began when Microsoft classified it as a "high priority" update, and forced 100% of users with the "automatic-update" feature enabled to download it. In fact WGA is not at all a "security" update nor is it "critical" to the commands that are required to run the operating system, but it is in fact a deceptive measure, used to track down "bootlegged" or "pirate" copies of Windows, and not allow future updates or features to users whom are using the "alleged" fake counterfeits. Not only does is it downright annoying, but it is also a violation of your privacy, by collecting usage and personal data without first informing the owner of the PC.

Microsoft is not new to lawsuits, stretching back many years to federal trials against the monopoly that still exists today. Microsoft also has the finances to fight anyone, whether that be a common citizen or the U.S. Government, money equals power, as we all know. Microsoft has since admitted Microsoft that the WGA feature transmits information whenever a user logs into Windows XP, yet stated that is their prerogative, since they do in fact hold copyrights and development rights to the software.

In fact it is not only not a prerogative that can be defended with the intentions that they have described, but it's an outright violation of the civil liberties and protections to citizens that are in place in many countries. You could have classified data on that PC which is detrimental to the existence of your company or business, and by Microsoft enabling themselves to transmit this data without your knowledge, they are breaking the law, and should be liable for any criminal or civil trials resulting from their actions.

That is exactly what is happening, as there is now a push to make this case a class-action lawsuit, meaning that thousands if not millions of people would be open to a settlement in court over the technological scandal Microsoft has dug themselves into. On September 22nd, that option for a class-action suit was brought in front of a Seattle Federal Court, and it's still under heavy contemplation by those overseeing the case.

"Ignoring the evidence, Plaintiffs tell an outrageously fictional tale of how Microsoft supposedly 'forced' WGA Validation onto more than 350 million Windows XP computers," Microsoft's defense team stated, during an appearance in front of U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones. "Without any evidence, Plaintiffs assert that Microsoft achieved this distribution by threatening to withhold critical security updates and breaking into computers without their owners' consent." The attorneys for Microsoft went on to state, "The fictional thesis on which Plaintiffs base their motion is demonstrably false."

Microsoft also denied that it ever withheld any updates or features to anyone who was using a counterfeit copy of the popular XP operating system, which was an outright lie. After the implementation of the WGA technology, as some of you may know, if you did not pass Genuine Advantage Validation, you could not use the Update feature after some time. "Despite Plaintiffs' assertions to the contrary, Microsoft never withheld any critical updates or security updates designed to improve the existing functionality of Windows XP, regardless of whether a user's copy of Windows XP was genuine." This was the exact quote from the behemoth Microsoft.

Microsoft went on to state that there was no basis for it to become a class action lawsuit, because they could never possibly inspect each and every computer running XP. "Each inspection would require a skilled computer technician and cost hundreds of dollars more than the $5 Plaintiffs seek for each proposed class member," which is again false, because WGA is an automated bot ran function, that does not actually require a human being to actually inspect any OS, merely an online scan of your system was all that would be needed. Without the WGA validation, there was no more updates for your OS. That is a fact. Another case of a billion dollar industry, totally bypassing the truth, simply to save a few hundred thousand dollars.

There is even more controversy in this case, which has been ongoing for nearly three years now, as ComputerWorld wrote a story stating that the honorable District Court Judge, Richard Jones, had in fact agreed to Microsoft's request which would classify secret sections of the WGA software development kit (SDK), with Microsoft stating that making those details public could possibly enemies or hackers inside information on how to manipulate, break, or crack, WGA source code. So the judge has agreed to keep certain information classified which is in fact related to the case, as the development goals and purposes of the technology could prove Microsoft's intentions, a complete secret from the court.
Security Feature
Not only is this a sign of a corrupt court, but shows that undoubtedly Microsoft will only be damaged in it's public relations appearance from this case, and chances are, will only receive a punishment similar to a slap on the wrist. Not bad for one of the world's richest corporations. The court docket states that the case is set for it's trial, which involves nine different plaintiffs, including two competing companies, is set to go to trial Jan. 25, 2010.

Microsoft has seen it's day in court before, anti-trust cases, to civil cases, to alleged criminal indictments, but never has it fallen to the pressures of the government of the United States. I assume that could possibly have to do with the fact that Microsoft's annual revenue is more than ten times the total per-capita income of the United States Government, or maybe that's just one of those ironic coincidences. Only time will tell the fate of Microsoft, but I for one will not be surprised when Microsoft wins, or continues it's "business as usal" methods up until the trial, and afterwards.

October 5th, 2009

Posted by:  Blocked
Date:  Monday, October 5th, 2009

Comments (12) (please add your comment »)

posted by Site FriendXbox (2009-10-05 07:37:14)
Z0R4N avatarCan't say that I'm shocked, but still it's a very lame way to "protect their stuff. Thanks for bringing this problem to the attention of all the members on ET. I personally use windows 7, so can't say anything about their product, but they are overpaid for sure, there shouldn't be anyone who can be above the law.

posted by (2009-10-05 09:24:47)
2canchu avatarBloody Hell Switch To Safe Computing Go Linux Go. Do you think that Vista Or 7 is any different. I doubt it I'ts probably worse. Any time you open a program in Windows it automatically goes to the internet. You guys have firewalls right? Then you know. Why are there so many anti-viruses and firewalls out there? Because someone is listening. 100% spyware. Get a clue. It's about time someone told it the way it is.Very good reporting (as usual)OBSCENE and I agree with you ZOR4N much too $xpensive OS and then you have to pay for office and everything else?WTF Maybe this depression(yes depression) will wake people up and say "Hell No I'm Not Going To Take It Anymore" Open Source=Safe Oh well you connect the dots, you pick up the pieces.Bye

posted by Site FriendXbox (2009-10-05 09:42:17)
Z0R4N avatarYeah, Linux is better, in meaning of viruses and legal program issues but many programs that I have to use in my profession are not available on Linux so I must stick with win 7, it's lesser evil;o) It's the fastest so far. But anything else than this OS is expensive so I'm not a fan of Microsoft

posted by Site FriendET junkieET loverSupermanSun (2009-10-05 10:36:03)
texasguy avatarnothing Microsoft do is a surprise to me its all bout money and being in charge hope this day in court will bring bout some change

posted by (2009-10-05 15:27:56)
kingtiger01 avatarMicrosh!T will most likely win. only proving that $$$ can buy out Civil Liberties every time...

Oh, well. there only making that hole there digging Bigger... and Bigger... and Bigger...

posted by (2009-10-05 19:05:23)
macbeth avatarthey could of given them brides you never know from behind closed doors!

posted by (2009-10-05 19:19:45)
SnakeyB avatarNice read as always Obs, I have been sitting on the fence with regards to Linux. I think Ill try it on laptop I have sitting around and give it a go.

posted by (2009-10-05 19:38:09)
altrntnam avatarwow, must suck. i agree with 2canchu. linux all the way. and to ZOR4N, linux has a package called "wine" that allows you to run any windows dependent program on a linux system. they also have "PlayOnLinux" which allows you to play any windows dependent games easily. problem solved. make the switch, you'll never regret it. as i'm sure you know (judging by the site we are on), it's nice getting everything for free.

posted by (2009-10-05 19:47:14)
SnakeyB avatarThanks altrntnam some of the reasons I have been putting Linux off have been answered in your post.

posted by (2009-10-06 15:43:31)
decoythegreat avatari have tried using linux but i cant get it to connect to the internet wirelessy or wired. all the tools are totally diff. its like im lost in this big gigantic maze where as windows 7 i can tweak it just like i want it. and personally i dont care if they want to see whats on my pc want find much but a bunch of pirated movies and software including the OS. I mean how long does it take to learn linux cuz everytime i install it on something i play with it a couple of days but cant seem to get nothing i want to do out of it. Maybe you could give me some tips or something about the linux thing cuz every version of windows seems to get crappier and crappier including 7. 7 is just a hog as vista although i can say no problems like vista its very user friendly and turning off unused services boost it a little but not as good as i think it could be.

posted by (2009-10-06 15:44:00)
decoythegreat avatarbtw, nice article OBS!!

posted by Blocked (2009-10-07 08:54:40)
No avatarYes... I use Lenny from time to time, and various forms. I've used redhat, ubuntu (all versions), and many other varieties of the open source OS. I do still use it for performance on "certain" machines :) Now my powerhouse machine, I have multi partitions, and I still use windows. I prefer none over the other, it simply depends on which task I have at hand. Yet to each their own, and of course, their is going to be problems with every OS, none are fool-proof, again anything man made is subject to human error. :D Thanks for the comments guys it drives me to keep writing these.

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