Windows 10 Reserves The Right To Block Pirated Games And 'Unauthorized' Hardware

from the Microsoft-being-Microsoft dept

While Windows 8 annoyed many users for its attempt to duct-tape two disparate computing styles (traditional Windows and a touch interface) together while demanding you stand impressed by the genius of such a move, Windows 10 initially appeared to be seeing some positive responses (at least among those who use Windows). That was, at least until people started to realize how nosy the operating system is, how frequently it feels the need to phone home to Redmond, and some of the more obnoxious language buried in the terms of service.

Not too surprisingly (this is Microsoft we’re talking about) the OS opts users in to all manner of information sharing from the start, and there’s some indication the OS doesn’t really heed its own opt-out settings for many of these “services”:

“Unfortunately for privacy advocates, these controls don’t appear to be sufficient to completely prevent the operating system from going online and communicating with Microsoft’s servers. For example, even with Cortana and searching the Web from the Start menu disabled, opening Start and typing will send a request to www.bing.com to request a file called threshold.appcache which appears to contain some Cortana information, even though Cortana is disabled. The request for this file appears to contain a random machine ID that persists across reboots.

While much of this phoning home appears to be innocuous, it’s obviously annoying to users who expect an OS that operates quietly and securely on the network. Other ingrained features of the OS may or may not be more troublesome, depending on how seriously you’d like to take the Microsoft’s fine print. One provision in particular appears to have caught the eye of numerous news outlets: namely that Microsoft has the ability and reserves the right to disable first-party (aka Microsoft) titles should they be found to be pirated. The TOS also notes that Microsoft reserves the right to block “unauthorized hardware”:

“We may automatically check your version of the software and download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices. You may also be required to update the software to continue using the Services.”

Comforting! It’s possible Microsoft will never utilize this particular portion of its TOS, but its inclusion is understandably troubling all the same, and with the capability embedded, it’s hard to think our friends at the MPAA and BSA won’t urge Microsoft to include their products. Update: one commenter points out the TOS in question that has everyone in a tizzy refers to Windows services, not necessarily Windows 10. Windows 10 is covered by Microsoft Software License Terms. In short, while Microsoft could declare Windows 10 as a service, it still seems highly unlikely that the company is going to invite the wrath of millions by using Windows 10 as a piracy and device nanny, especially if they want the OS to succeed.

If you’re looking for some additional bright side, Windows 10 at least blocks some of the more obnoxious, invasive flavors of DRM that have made the rounds over the last few years, including SecureROM and SafeDisc. Unfortunately, that means titles that used this DRM simply won’t work on the new OS without a patch.

Either way, worries about Windows 10’s spying and reporting habits appear to have freaked out a few BitTorrent trackers. One tracker by the name of iTS has decided to block all Windows 10 users entirely, redirecting them to this YouTube video explaining the perceived dangers of the new OS. In a post over at Reddit, tracker admins explain why they’re not particularly welcoming of Windows 10 users:

“Many of you might have heard or read about the terrible privacy policy of windows 10 recently. Unfortunately Microsoft decided to revoke any kind of data protection and submit whatever they can gather to not only themselves but also others. One of those is one of the largest anti-piracy company called MarkMonitor. Amongst other things windows 10 sends the contents of your local disks directly to one of their servers. Obviously this goes way too far and is a serious threat to sites like ours which is why we had to take measures.”

This is likely somewhat of an overreaction, since Microsoft has been working with MarkMonitor for many years now, in some instances to protect customers from phishing attacks. Still, it’s understandable that Microsoft’s decision to embed Windows 10 with all manner of chatty behaviors would raise a few eyebrows. If Redmond wants to avoid the fractured adoption issues that plagued earlier versions of Windows, hopefully executives there can be publicly pressured to ensure that opting out of the more chatty and invasive aspects of the new OS actually works.

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Comments on “Windows 10 Reserves The Right To Block Pirated Games And 'Unauthorized' Hardware”

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191 Comments
mcinsand (profile) says:

Re: Re: Microsoft Xenix was very good to me!

In the mid-80’s, I got a big box of floppies from a batch that a company was throwing away. In that box was a complete set of Microsoft Xenix 5¼’s. At the time, I couldn’t afford a PC with the umph to run it, so the diskettes went to the back of the drawer. Decades passed, and, I still held onto them. Then, some years ago, I put them out on eBay. They at least put a couple of hundred dollars into my pocket 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What a joke.

Unless you are addicted you the likes of photoshop, or some of the online video services, or make heavy use of advanced feature of excel, go for it. Often you can get a windows version of Free software, and try it out before committing to Linux, or you can try a live DVD, with Knoppix being designed for this use, and coming with a large amount of software on the DVD. You might even find that free software allows you to explore uses of software that are prohibitively expensive under proprietary OS’s.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: What a joke.

I gave up windows before live USB installations came along, so a recommendation as to the tools to use might help the OP.
The other way to try out Linux is via Virtualbox, which is a good option for longer term testing.
It is also worth noting that Linux will run on a 1GHz single core Celeron with 512MB of ram, or any other early XP machine; especially if a lighter weight desktop like LXDE, XFCE or Mate is used.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 What a joke.

That’s correct. I’m running Mint Linux, MATE edition on a 9-year-old laptop with a 1.5GHz Celeron CPU and 1G of RAM, and it works beautifully. Granted, I’m doing something heavy-duty like video editing, but just at the moment I’m running two web browsers, a mail client, a chat client, and seven terminal windows.

Linux makes VASTLY more efficient use of hardware than Windows.

Charles (profile) says:

Re: What a joke.

I started using Linux in July of 2004. I started out on the worst Linux distribution ever released- Lindows or whatever they had to change the name to. I went to Suse and have tried many, many distros since. I now use Ubuntu, somewhat begrudgingly, because it too has issues. However with Linux almost all perceived annoyances can be remedied with research and self-education.

Held in high esteem by many and loathed by some, Richard Stallman’s philosophy on personal computing should be read by all. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Free_Software_Definition

A program is free software if the program’s users have the four essential freedoms:

The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

On my last three computers I left a Windows partition for emergency use by my daughter and grandkids. It has rarely been used and each time I have had to boot into Windows I am reminded why I no longer use it. Even before reading this article I was hesitant about upgrading the Windows partition from 8.1 to 10.

Right now on my desk I have a USB stick and DVD with Ubuntu on it that I am going to give to a friend of mine to try Linux. Might I suggest you all do the same.

For those of you interested in some of the legal history of Microsoft I would recommend researching the archives at http://www.groklaw.net especially the Comes vs MS documents:
http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=2007021720190018

mjevans (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: What a joke.

He never was ‘crazy’, but as ever it is difficult for him to share his vision and message in a way that makes sense to those outside of the field.

I very much appreciate how forward looking and ‘wear a tinfoil hat for the right reasons’ he has been and for founding the Free Software Foundation.

At the same time I think it is unfortunate that a more charismatic spokesperson has yet to eclipse the very notoriety you reference with true celebrity.

Seegras (profile) says:

Re: Re: What a joke.

I started using Linux in 1995.

And one of the reasons was Windows 95. I had a beta in summer 1995, and came to the conclusion that this was the same DOS-based shit as Windows 3.11, in a nicer packaging.

Just at this moment, a friend lent me his Linux install CD, and I was hooked. I still had DOS and Windows 3.11 for maybe a year or two on the other partition, but then came Quake in 1996, and that was the point where I threw out DOS and Windows. Obviously, they weren’t needed anymore, the important games were working on Linux ;).

My machines run Linux ever since, sometimes I had some Windows in a VMware, but never on the metal. But lately, wine has obliterated the need for most Windows VMs, because it’s so much faster and runs about 90% of all Windows applications and 80% of all games, out of the box. Of course, now I don’t even run wine so much, since a lot of games now get ported.

In any case, apart from OCR, Desktop Publishing and Image Manipulation, there is no need to use anything but Linux. And for the above three things, MacOS X has always been better than Windows anyway.

Manabi (profile) says:

Re: What a joke.

You’re not the only one. I started out hopeful, and liked what I saw in the technical preview. The new start menu was well done, and the live tiles could be completely removed. I was a bit concerned about the update policy, but figured it was because it was beta software and Microsoft wanted the beta testers current.

And… it’s been downhill ever since. To be able to schedule when my updates happen, I’d have to upgrade to professional, making Win10 a non-free upgrade. Then all this crap with privacy, or lack thereof.

I have had problems and disliked some previous Windows OS versions (notably ME and Vista), but I never seriously considered switching to Linux before. Now, I am. If Windows 10 is still looking awful in a year’s time, I’m just going to plan to switch over to Linux by Windows 7’s end-of-life. I may seriously do it anyway, because I no longer trust Microsoft at all.

Congrats Microsoft.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 What a joke.

You might be surprised how much machine power Windows wastes.

I would not be surprised, I’ve seen what comparatively wimpy hardware will run the latest and most advanced Linux distributions without complaint or issue. And really really pathetically slow and outdated hardware will run something like Xubuntu. I’ve just never done development on Linux on a lower power machine. Maybe I should ask my boss if I can put Linux on this pathetically slow laptop…

madasahatter (profile) says:

Re: What a joke.

I recently installed the latest version of Linux Mint (17.2) on the Swambo’s laptop. The only questions the installation wizard asked were: password to connect to the wi-fi, time zone, keyboard, how should the disk be set up, and setting up one user (w/password). No personal information was required. Nor was there any activation required. Install, reboot, login, and use the computer. Took about half hour.

I should mention that while the installation was going on I could surf the Internet from the live DVD.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Windows 10 is spyware

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.

It seems a keystroke logger that phones the data home to a 3rd party would be an obvious violation.

I might violate copyright law how? What is /half-s?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Who can authorize?

I can’t remember the details, but a few years ago but Microsoft distributed a driver that bricked ‘fake’ USB to serial chips in some Arduino clones. Just how the person buying the clones, which are legal for Arduino, was meant to determine whether or not the manufacturer used ‘fake’ chips I do not know. The outcry soon got that driver replaced, but it required reprogramming the Arduino board to restore it to operation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Who can authorize?

FTDI is squarely to blame for this one.

FTDI is a semiconductor manufacturer that has a line of very nice, popular USB to microcontroller interface chips; they are flexible, easy to program on both sides and fairly cheap.

This makes them perfect targets for Chinese counterfeiters: these chips are moderately complex internally, do not require very advanced silicon process and will easily sell in small batches at prices that are just below the official.

FTDI tried to “combat these counterfeit chips” by using a trick to brick them. Unfortunately, due to nasty issues with global electronics supply market, these chips were found not just in Shenzen market gizmos, they made their way to quite serious hardware sold by very serious companies.

The big problem is that the only way to be 100% sure that you buy “original” chips is to go directly to the manufacturer.. and the manufacturer was not very interested in selling quantities smaller than a hundred thousand chips with thirteen weeks delivery time.

P.S. it’s theoretically possible to un-brick devices with these chips, it just requires high levels of electronics and OS experience along with familiarity with a given product.

Socrates says:

Re: Re: Autoupdate harmful drivers.

Microsoft distributed the malignant driver, and FTDI wrote it and made it malignant on purpose. No jurisdiction has prosecuted any of the offenders yet. Not even community service!

The malignant driver were updated silently, and it bricked the equipment silently.

Most equipment that used reverse engineered FTDI USB to serial and FTDI USB to parallel chips is harmed by the driver. Reverse engineered as in: made to talk to the most used USB bridge driver in windows and work as transparently and well as possible. Actual copies is immune, as they share the bug that prevent the ‘genuine’ chips from executing the malignant code. Thus, the driver has malignant code that is ONLY run by reverse engineered chips.

Just how the person buying the clones, which are legal for Arduino, was meant to determine whether or not the manufacturer used ‘fake’ chips I do not know

They can’t. Many ‘fake’ chips were marked as FTDI, a trademark violation. They were marked so well in fact that industry professionals usually guessed wrong when trying to guess the origin of the chips (as the copies were made by a more modern and advanced process).

The outcry soon got that driver replaced, but it required reprogramming the Arduino board to restore it to operation

The USB address were set to zero, an address that Windows don’t want to use. The vast majority of the users affected would believe that the equipment have failed, and not understand that Microsoft/FTDI bricked it.

As there is a significantly elevated risk by using software and hardware from Microsoft and FTDI, an effort should be made to avoid them. Many have done so allready, and is safer because of it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Who can authorize?

“Does the text define “unauthorized” or say who can authorize hardware? “

Afaik Microsoft defines that. Because of the Secure Boot and TPM stuff they can revoke the cert for certain hardware and more or less brick the box.

f.e. they only want AMD cards then the can remove the Nvidia certs and you can’t use the cards anymore.

But that is nothing new. Win 8 has that too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Unauthorised Hardware?

What right does an OS have to decide what you plug in to your computer?

Similarly, what right does the OS have to decide what software you run on your computer?

Both of these questions should be purely rhetorical with the answer of, simply, ‘none’. That this discussion is even needed is cause for serious alarm.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Unauthorised Hardware?

What right does an OS have to decide what you plug in to your computer?

Maybe you should direct your question at Apple too. With Windows you can at least build your own stuff and aren’t forced to buy Microsoft computers.

Seriously, Apple does this stuff for decades and noone cares. Now that MS does something that goes into this direction but is far far from how Apple does business people are outraged.

All MS is doing is trying to get some Apple costumers in my opinion. Easy to use system which manages itself and the user can just use it without worries about drivers and such.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Unauthorised Hardware?

Seriously, Apple does this stuff for decades and noone cares. Now that MS does something that goes into this direction but is far far from how Apple does business people are outraged.

Yes, but developers/power users don’t take apple seriously. They build toys, so no one cares as much.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Vista was the beta version of Windows 7, rushed to market after MS realised they actually had competition and needed to have an updated product (same reason they suddenly decided to release IE7 as a standalone release rather than just as part of an OS upgrade, among other things).

If anyone’s still using Vista, I’d suggest they upgrade to 7 just to have the complete OS instead of the public beta they’re using. Beyond that? I’d be wary.

Doug D says:

Unauthorized hardware?

I’m guessing here, but bear with me a moment.

Best case scenario: they only block hardware that’s *literally illegal*, like… what, some equipment that serves no purpose but interfering with mobile networks maybe? I’m not actually sure.

Worst case scenario: they start a program of certified peripherals, and block anything (in some categories) that doesn’t go through that certification program. Consider the Xbox consoles: almost anything that plugs into the USB ports except for a mic, keyboard, or storage device needs to be specially certified. That’s why the peripheral for “Disney Infinity” comes in one flavor shared by the Wii, PS3, Wii U, and PS4, another flavor used just by the XB360, and another flavor used just by the XB1. They’re all USB, they all *look* identical, but the Microsoft versions are certified for those specific consoles (not even for the whole console family).

Unfortunately likely scenario: they block peripherals that violate *industry group requirements*, like any HDMI capture hardware that can be configured to bypass HDCP.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Unauthorized hardware?

Best case scenario: they only block hardware that’s *literally illegal*, like… what, some equipment that serves no purpose but interfering with mobile networks maybe?

Even such hardware is generally legal to own and use in specific circumstances, e.g. a phone manufacturer testing for interference in a Faraday cage.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Nothing new

Why did you pay for MS Sync? Why is there a need for anything more complicated than a bypass to the car’s speakers?

Yes, back in my day, real cars ate cassettes and didn’t connect to your boombox (which you could comfortably rest on the bench seat and even buckle in with the aftermarket seat belts!). And we liked it! I remember the time I fed my car Celine Dion. I got better gas mileage from that car, until I lost the second Dion tape I’d been threatening it with.

I still suspect the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Buicks for that one.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Nothing new

If it wasn’t important, why was he bothering to use it?

Just because a feature was not important enough to sway his decision on what kind of car to buy doesn’t mean he should never use it. I didn’t get my car because it has heated side mirrors, but I still turn them on when the mirrors are icy.

Anonymous Coward says:

This has been going on for a VERY long time.

I first noticed unsolicited reactivation of administratively disabled DRM software by the auto update system, on XP if I remember correctly. So what has changed is that they are ADMITTING that surveillance is compulsory. It has been going on at some level for years now.

For those who just noticed, welcome to the party. May I recommend petitioning game companies to release software on bootable DVDs in the future. At this point, the kernel is tiny compared to the average video game.

Rekrul says:

Re: This has been going on for a VERY long time.

I first noticed unsolicited reactivation of administratively disabled DRM software by the auto update system, on XP if I remember correctly. So what has changed is that they are ADMITTING that surveillance is compulsory. It has been going on at some level for years now.

Can you please elaborate on this? What exactly got reactivated?

Anonymous Coward says:

i can understand MS wanting to ensure that it’s software on a machine is genuine, but to make decisions on other software and hardware. is out of order! on top of that, MS has no right to inspect every aspect of a computer to check whatever it wants. that is surely a gross invasion of privacy? MS wants everyone to move up to Windows 10 but does as much as it can to stop it from happening. to me, this smacks of something far greater, far worse for people than it appears and it’s an attempt to have eveyone making money to know everything about us and be able not just to report us to the authorities, will be recording all manner of information that will aid the authorities to get us locked up. this has been one of the aims of the entertainment industries, in my opinion, because they have done absolutely nothing, nor has any government done anything to encourage them to try to do things to encourage customers to get movies, music, software, games even reading material from nowhere except legitimate sources. i fail to see how it can be a sensible option to keep wanting to do everything but get people to use legal websites for whatever they want the continuous persecution and increasing of legal punishments does nothing except force people to continue avoiding those legal sources. i also find it extremely strange that none of the industries have been forced to take measures other than greater and greater legal ones. the normal course of action, surely, is to try to do the things to encourage customers to go there first and if they fail, then take a harder line? i think this has all been a carefully orchestrated plan from the purposeful ‘financial crisis’ to what we are seeing now, where the whole aim has been to ensure that businesses run the planet and no one has any choice but get things from the legal channels. and dont forget that in a very short space of time into the future, no one will be able to use any other method to get anything other than using cards of some sort, just so governments know exactly who has what from whom, when and for how much. every government and business is pushing these actions so as to make sure they dont lose a single penny!!

Anonymous Coward says:

“While much of this phoning home appears to be innocuous,”

Can’t agree with that. We do not know what it is taking or how or when. That is the problem. There is no real informed consent.

“…hopefully executives there can be publicly pressured to ensure that opting out of the more chatty and invasive aspects of the new OS actually works.”

That is one possibility. But in the absence of genuine data protection laws I can’t see this happening. The problem, like so many others, remains that the company is allowed to bribe government officials, across many jurisdictions, in exchange for them turning a blind eye to abusive behavior.

A credible nation state needs to a take a stand and say enough is enough. Meanwhile we should all be evangelizing Linux.

FM Hilton (profile) says:

The old days

When I stated a while ago that I was still running XP at another forum, they laughed at me and told me that I should move my OS up to Win7.

I was behind the times technologically. I was running a OS that could get hacked by everyone and anyone.

Now that Windows 10 is out, I’m real tempted to laugh at those who upgraded to it, because they’re being hacked by the company that makes Windows 10.

But I will refrain-because I finally upgraded to 7, that’s far enough for me.

Now who’s calling who paranoid?

Anonymous Coward says:

Link bait headline is link bait. Techdirt is usually better than this. Don’t confuse Windows the Windows 10 EULA with the Microsoft Services EULA. These are not the same thing, despite what every other uninformed website is posting on the web. See softpedia link below:

http://news.softpedia.com/news/can-windows-10-really-disable-your-pirated-games-not-really-489401.shtml

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Not a troll, just tired of this misleading story:

https://www.thurrott.com/windows/windows-10/5337/windows-10-tip-understand-and-configure-privacy-settings

http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/17/9164153/windows-10-privacy-concerns

Should we keep an eye on what MS is doing? Definitely. Is MS scanning your hard drive for pirated software? No. Are there privacy concerns with Windows 10? Yes. Are there settings to mitigate those concerns? Also yes. Should you upgrade to Windows 10? I don’t care whether you do or not. If you can get done what you need to get done with Windows 7, 8, Linux, OSX or some other OS, go for it. I don’t have a dog in that fight. I would advise strongly against sticking with a pre-Windows 7 OS and even Win7 will need to be updated once support expires in a few years, but that’s a decision that you can put off. I will say as someone who uses Win7 and Win10 every single day that Windows 10 is a better OS overall.

What this story amounts to is: Click-bait websites have created a mountain out of a molehill. Some people (like the ones running the BitTorrent tracker mentioned in the article) are making decisions based on these articles exaggerating the non-issues.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Does it actually “spy” on you, though? At worst, it seems to communicate with servers and has a unique hardware identifier. It has not been determined to send any private information to outside servers, other than the fact that your machine exists. I’m all for privacy, and I agree that Microsoft needs MUCH BETTER communication and transparency, but discussions about Microsoft secretly scanning your PC for counterfeit software and hardware is just fear-mongering click bait. It is just like when Windows 8 came out and people started claiming that you were only going to be able to install Microsoft approved software (which even Valve’s Gabe Newell apparently bought in to).

And if these terms are an issue, pretending like it is a Windows 10 issue (even though they aren’t Windows 10 terms) means people will end up still using the services that the terms ACTUALLY apply to and just avoiding the software that they DON’T apply to. People that have issues with this should be shouting that Skype, OneDrive, Outlook.com, etc are a problem and that you shouldn’t use them. Making it a Win10 issue just to get those clicks confuses the real issues.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

No, that’s not the same at all. A hacked company would have had a security flaw that was exploited by someone almost assuredly with ill intent. It really isn’t the same thing.

And if you want to call me a shill for calling out an inaccuracy in the story, which has since been CORRECTED, that’s totally cool. Generally, people that accuse others of being shills are just people who have nothing worthwhile to say anyway (See any of the trolls that accuse Mike of being a Google shill.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“People that have issues with this should be shouting that Skype, OneDrive, Outlook.com, etc are a problem and that you shouldn’t use them. Making it a Win10 issue just to get those clicks confuses the real issues.”

I don’t use any of the other Microsoft services you mentioned. That is why I don’t complain about them much.

If you are not a shill then you are doing a remarkably good job of repeating their talking points.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

They’ll care when Microsoft decides to bust them for minor sharing activity. Or kill switch their system because some MS tech got suspicious.

Microsoft is made up of a lot of people, some of whom have a tendency to get stupid and abuse their monitoring position.

Kinda like Google and the NSA. In Google it seem fairly rare (or they cover it up really well). In the NSA it’s prevalent but not considered abuse from within for (say) a tech to stalk his exes and collect private cheesecake photos.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

They have, its called Linux, and comes with free applications for most purposes. It also include a free windows emulator, Wine, which is capable of running many proprietary Windows applications. A complete Windows emulation on the hardware is likely to have similar problems to Wine, as Microsoft do not provide the information needed to make a complete emulator, and may use ‘private’ APIs in their own code. Also running proprietary applications can open you up to spying, especially when the require a web connection for DRM purposes..

Anonymous Coward says:

"Windows 10 Reserves The Right" -- NO, IT TAKES YOUR RIGHTS! You can't even get the headline right!

??? Tardy, much? Where has Techdirt been on this the last month?

Are you all Luddites who want nothing new and gloriously better?

Don’t you worry about being a small minority of techo-phobes who stubbornly won’t keep up, creating security problems for hundreds of millions of “normal” people? — Who see you as NUTS?

What are you going to do when new games and Office formats won’t work on your antique Windows 7?

Going to forego mandatory updates and leave yourself vulnerable to the many old flaws Microsoft left?

How exactly have you determined that the spying in 7 and 8 is acceptable? Just haven’t yet heard the news that those are being “updated” to same levels?

Can you not see the trends of corporate spying lead directly to zero privacy for you and total control for them?

HOW have you managed to avoid seeing that trend over the last decade?

Don’t you think would have been wiser if started complaining and saying NO to corporate spying a decade ago?

Think you’re “voluntarily” trading a little privacy for wonderful new “services”? Or just totally clueless about current level of surveillance from those “services”?

Do you expect this trend to even slow down, let alone stop at respecting any little shreds of our privacy?

Do you all only get your “news” from Techdirt? (Gosh, that’d explain a lot…) Or just so devoted that you saved your comments for the entire month?

After all these years, NOW that it’s too late, you’re waking up? Sheesh. You’re nothin’ but lurbles.

Socrates says:

Re: Luddites who want nothing new

Are you all Luddites who want nothing new and gloriously better?

This made me smile. Thanks.

mandatory updates

…with deliberate malware and new and shiny file formats.

‘We’ resist Windows 10 better than most. In fact ‘we’ resist widows better than most!

Techdirt is really good BTW. Sometimes they fall for what I am convinced is an elaborate hoax; such as “anti-propaganda” propaganda with bots linking to bots instead of influencing people, sites and news media; but they excel among news media. They eclipse all main stream media.

Anonymous Coward says:

I'm trying

About once per year, Windows pisses me off enough that I will download 3 or 4 Linux distros and install them one at a time on the extra partition (this is more frequently than changing computers, so I usually have the partition ready to go).

And every time, after a week or so, there is something I need to do that I just can’t get working in Linux. And so, with the shame of a junkie going back to the dealer, I reboot in Windows and end up staying there.

So here’s the irony. Using Linux really does require extra effort for most users. And Microsoft is making damn sure it’s worth the effort.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I'm trying

Yep, the newest backported Ubuntu Vivid kernel killed my 14.04 install due to using the FGLRX driver and some bug in the update code. Awesome! Not what a new Linux user wants to deal with after simply installing an update. Fortunately I’m not new, nor old enough to forget the great times I had letting windows update my video driver.

Rekrul says:

In a sane world, all of the crap MS has pulled with Windows 10 (forced updates, huge privacy violations, etc) would be enough to ensure that nobody would touch it with a ten foot pole.

Of course in the real world, the amount of people bothered by these things probably amounts to about .01% of all the computer users in the world. 🙁

Anonymous Coward says:

Microsoft Vanquished

Working in the IT field I have had numerous run-ins with Microsoft’s anti-consumer behaviors. A few years ago I switched to Linux and my wife to Mac and I barley support anything Microsoft anymore. Life has been vastly improved. Linux is a better OS for business anyway. If only there were a single major manufacturer who where serious and selling Linux desktop systems preinstalled for business. Dell and others seem to use it as a negotiating tactic with Microsoft but always team up with them in the end. I have replaced many a Windows install with Linux. Microsoft using UEFI with Secure Boot to make Linux installs more difficult and continually moving the locations in Windows 8 and 10 for adjusting it seems to clearly state that Microsoft fears if you can boot Linux you will choose it. I think it is the ultimate admission that Linux is the better OS. I mean when you can’t welcome a comparison of your product to a competing one, then the better choice is very obvious.

Beech says:

Good to know

I upgraded to Windows 10. Didn’t know the evil empire was up to this level of shenanigans. I just googled how to block windows 10 from phoning home, which took me to an article that taught me how to block domains with the hosts file as well as supplying a handy list of all of the IPs windows tries to send things too. So now that’s taken care of. Yay.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Good to know

“block domains with the hosts file “

Good idea, except that Windows is well known for ignoring the hosts file. So, it has not been taken care of and another solution is required. Several options exist, one could wipe the HD and install some other OS or never connect it to the internet. A well thought out firewall would also do wonders.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Good to know

What firewall do you recommend for Windows and what do recommend for Linux?

Being a bit lazy, I would prefer something with a user GUI so I can actually see what connections are doing what.

On the Linux side, I was using Firestarter and just recently realized that it doesn’t seem to do anything for IPv6 connections.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Good to know

Typically, one firewall is used for an entire network rather than residing on each machine.

Yes, my broadband router at home does have firewall features on it, but that won’t stop outbound connections from my computer at all. Nor will help if I connect my laptop at other places, like work. I’m talking about a personal firewall to keep an eye on what software is making connections from my computer that I would rather not allow.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Good to know

Many linux distros provide ip tables functionality for this purpose.

I think they all do and I know I can go that route if I really want to, but like I said above, I’m a bit lazy and not really wanting to be editing text files or what not all the time. What I was hoping for is a GUI program that monitored the connections where you could simply select a connection and set it “block” or “allow” or “allow once” kind of thing. I’ve checked out a couple of the Linux offerings on this, but most seemed to be pretty complicated and overkill for what I’m looking to do. I might have to dust off Anjunta and try to write my own, I guess.

And since I rarely use Windows outside of work, I was wondering if something similar was out there for Windows too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Good to know

On Windows, I use Comodo Firewall. If you set the firewall to “Custom Ruleset”, for every new connection you get a popup where you can allow it, deny it, or select a predefined ruleset for the program that initiated it (e.g. allow all, deny all, web browser etc). There is a checkbox to make your selection permanent. If you accidentally check it, you can view & modify the rules in the options window.

The only times that I’ve had some problems is when playing a new full-screen game – you can’t see the popup because of the game, and the game stops loading until you dismiss the popup or it times out. I reduced the timeout to 10 seconds, so I don’t have to wait too long (sometimes there are multiple popups). It only happens with some games, and since you can also set up rules in the firewall options, it’s not a big problem.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Good to know

“Yes, my broadband router at home does have firewall features on it, but that won’t stop outbound connections from my computer at all.”

Then your router’s firewall is worthless (as many of them are). Get a standalone one, or pick up an old computer from a secondhand shop and turn it into your firewall.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Good to know

“What firewall do you recommend for Windows and what do recommend for Linux?”

I don’t use Windows for my firewall. It runs Linux, using the firewall capabilities that are built in. I use Shorewall to ease configuration.

My firewall sits between the internet and the rest of my network, so it protects everything attached to my LAN, regardless of what OS they’re running.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Good to know

My firewall sits between the internet and the rest of my network, so it protects everything attached to my LAN, regardless of what OS they’re running.

Ah, ok. I’m not sure that would work real well for me. I also have 3 other adults who live in my house who connect through the router with various devices and I’m not really looking to be a nanny for them and their devices.

I was thinking more in terms of a personal firewall at the device level. I’ll have to check out Comodo, that the AC above recommended.

Anonymous Coward says:

The King is dead, long live the King. Thankfully I tried Linux for a few years back when Vista hit the streets, and will brush up on using it again when my favorite disto updates. That said I will also continue using Windows 7 and 8 for the time being. Where I went to school 7 + 8 = 15. So you all can put it on the X if you so desire, and see where it gets you. Windows 10 plays down and dirty. Do you GNU? Don’t get me wrong, I tried Windows ten for about six weeks, and got a case of painful rectal itch from the use of that OS. Thanks TechDirt for letting me vent, now let us see if the Europeans tear Microsoft a new one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Just like any other “tattle tale” device, as I like to call it, it can be defeated by by blocking the IP addrsseses it uses, at the firewall level, so that windows cannot “phone home”, as it were.

I know this, becuase back in the 1990s, I used a pirated version of CyberSitter, when I had housekeepers that would bring kids with them. Even with the warnining that countefeit registation numbers would be traced and prosecuted, I never was, becuase I blocked the IP address at Solid Oak, that the program used to “tattle” on you, and I was never caught when I did that back in the 1990s.

A “tattle tale” device, whether by Solid Oak, or Microsoft, can easily be defeated with a firewall. It is just a matter of finding out what IP addresses it uses, and then blocking them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What about security and other updates? How do you know it isn’t sending saved data as soon as you let anything through? Also, you would have to constantly monitor traffic to try to keep on top of the complex/evolving threat. Microsoft are deliberately obfuscating and misleading about their intent here. Without governments requiring them to change – the only serious solution is to stop using the malware/OS wherever possible.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Who do you think the gathered data is really intended for? After a “Cyber” sharing bill finally passes won’t the data then be for sale to the biggest budgeted three letter agency? Ironically paid for with monies extracted from the same citizens whose data will be being purchased.

Anonymous Coward says:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/08/02/1408113/-Windows-10-comes-with-built-in-spyware-If-your-work-requires-confidentiality-DO-NOT-INSTALL

This is worth a read. I am well versed in computer networking, and Windows 10 sends packetized data back to their servers with a number of actions by the user (including search queries and scanning for media files on your hard drive) and automatically, by no action of the user. To put it simply, this data is encrypted, so we do not know what it contains, but it might be sending the contents of your computer, or data, or metadata.

No other version of Windows is so invasive in sending data to a Microsoft server, the contents of which is presumed ownership or stewardship of Microsoft, a company, and not just yourself (from where the data originated, and presumably is ‘owned’ in any conventional sense*).

* Note that ‘legally’ this may be ‘owned’ in an unconventional sense, or even not mean owned at all.. as ever, it all depends on interpretation.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

It's a crying shame that Microsoft is pushing so much of their monitoring as compulsory.

Much like Google when Google was on its best behavior, some of the features of Microsoft’s invasiveness could actually be useful, like being able to tell your friend’s account it’s okay for her to use your wifi.

But Microsoft has made it clear that they demand all your data, and they will use it against you if they think you are doing them wrong. And they will hand over your data to any affiliate they like and the government if it pleases them (or makes them money).

People only take that sort of bullshit when they have to, when they’re at gunpoint. And as soon as someone creates a hack to circumvent such monitoring / persecution (Like this. Warning: Don’t know it’s veracity!).

Soon to come (I hope): hackware that gets your Win10 install to send gobs of false data to big micro.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

I failed to complete my sentence.

And as soon as someone creates a hack to circumvent such monitoring / persecution (like the one above) it will spread through the user base like wildfire.

As Windows Genuine Advantage in XP, Vista and Win7 taught us, putting draconian DRM in your operating system (e.g. phoning home) is a way to assure that the crack will be written not by mischievous student hackers, but by high end software engineers.

Espryon (profile) says:

Hope hell is real for MS

I can’t think of anything more ironic of a company that claims it has ‘original’ intellectual property and ideas when the software was stolen from Xerox and re’d. A company that uses stolen software is bullying people who pirate things, pretty hypocritical. I now realize swapping all my computers over to varying versions of linux was the best decision I could’ve made. To the windows 10 users that got a ‘free upgrade’, enjoy having a camera shoved up your ‘whereever’ in the words of Donald Trump. I hope self incrimination is enough to convince you people using software like MS’ is a bad move not only because free software is less complicated, more efficient, and designed better but, because free software doesn’t spy on you and pretend that some settings disable privacy invading features when they in fact do not. I seriously hope hell is real for companies as awful as ms and their crap software and it is swallowed into a fiery abyss.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Hope hell is real for MS

…I hope self incrimination is enough to convince you people…

Well, I took the free upgrade to 10, knowing it would be mainly spyware, because Win8 sux rox and was driving me crazy and because one has to be guilty of something illegal to worry much about such things as self incrimination.

Besides, the reports of CIAF BIN SADOJ’s data interception and dissemination capabilities already point out that if the Feds want to bust your ass for something, all they have to do is plant the evidence on your computer and then send in the Heavy Metal Cops to bust down your door and take your computer in for forensic interrogation.

Voila, you’re breaking rocks for twenty years.

I will however admit that Win10, while definitely better than Win8 – (Win5 was better than Win8 – I think Win10 is the latest incarnation of NT actually) – is so filled with call home shit that I do recommend that all who might use P2P, or have nasty pics of Clinton or any other Bush, or any other kinds “self-incriminating” stuff, or more importantly, if you’re running a legitimate business, keep all such material/records stored on an offline computer, or, of course, not at all.

I’m still trying to get all the spyware “apps” shut down, and upgrades take place without your consent or assistance and cannot, as far as I can tell, be shut off, or manipulated in any fashion at all by the borrower/user.

They do allow you to determine/schedule when you want to shut down the computer for reboot after the upgrade installs though – so nice of them eh. 🙂

In the simplest terms – using W10, is exactly like borrowing a computer from Microsoft. Its their computer and you’re just being allowed to use it, until they decide to stop letting you use it.

They can terminate any process they don’t want you to run, and if you use it for such things as graphics, or effects heavy games, you’ll notice that everything comes to a stop for whole seconds, every so often, so the computer you’re being allowed to use, can finish an important dump of your property to whosoever is paying Microsloth for the data dump.

They’ve made “agreements with gaming groups too. Just before the upgrade, my AMD settings for TES4 Oblivion stopped working and refused to work when reset thru CCC.

I had to turn on anti-aliasing in the game engine itself.

Then, a couple days after the Win 10 upgrade, a huge AMD upgrade happened and suddenly I have a Raptr App called Gaming Evolved on my machine and the first thing it does is pop up a screen telling me it has fine tuned the graphics for Oblivion – and it has, perfectly.

However, if I want to keep those finely tuned adjustments, I have to let the Raptr App stay connected. Cool deal eh. 🙂

Took me half an hour to shut down everything you’re allowed to shut down in that little piece of spyware.

It follows all my gaming activity and God’s know what else, and reports directly to God’s know who, as long as I’m connected to the Internet – all supposedly so it can tell me how many hours I’ve played the game and let me chat with other gamers – an activity I find repulsive at best.

I’ve no doubt Win10 also perfected the CPU’s selective software malfunction process that makes non-MS software and apps that come from non-MS-Crony companies run wonky and CTD after half an hours use.

Sadly, this is the future of the Personal Computer and will in ten years be universal – no more Linux or any other non-Player OS allowed, unless people finally get up off their fat sofas and demand real change, starting at the top – which is about as likely to occur as finding gold bullion in your shitter every Friday.

LVDave (profile) says:

“We may automatically check your version of the software and download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices. You may also be required to update the software to continue using the Services.”

I don’t usually use profanity, but in this case, its DEFINITELY warranted…

FUCK YOU MICROSOFT… sooooo glad I made the switch to Linux back around 2011, never going back…

John David Galt (profile) says:

Is this why Windows now hangs when I try to run Heroes II?

If you’re looking for some additional bright side, Windows 10 at least blocks some of the more obnoxious, invasive flavors of DRM that have made the rounds over the last few years, including SecureROM and SafeDisc. Unfortunately, that means titles that used this DRM simply won’t work on the new OS without a patch.

Where can I get these patches? They have no right to disable any functionality without our informed consent.

GEMont (profile) says:

Ribbitt..... ribbbbittt.......... ribbbbbittt.... rib..gah!

Microsoft is anti-competitive violating the anti-trust law and the FTC should get on them.

You’re probably referring to the Pre-9/11 Anti-Trust laws, which of course, like most other business oriented laws and the US constitution, no longer apply to those who are in power, or those who are in charge of directing the actions of those who are in power.

If the FTC got involved in this, it would be primarily to get a raise in personal graft check deposits, to help pay for the ever escalating costs of yacht parts, bimbos and cocaine.

What was it the Borg used to say to every being they were in the process of assimilating….

—-

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