TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Security Firm: Sony CDs Secretly Install Spyware

Security Firm: Sony CDs Secretly Install Spyware

Monty Solomon (
Tue, 8 Nov 2005 08:37:32 -0500

Company denies allegations, saying program aims to foil music piracy
By Hiawatha Bray, Globe Staff

Sony is spying on thousands of listeners who buy and play its music
CDs on their computers, a leading computer security firm said

Computer Associates International Inc. said that new anticopying
software Sony is using to discourage pirating of its music also
secretly collects information from any computer that plays the discs.

One of the world's largest software and information technology
companies, Computer Associates is the latest to wade into the growing
controversy over Sony's efforts to curb theft and illegal pirating of
its music.

The software works only on computers running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows
operating system. It limits listeners' ability to copy the music onto
their computers, and locks copied files so they cannot be freely
distributed over the Internet.

But Computer Associates said the antipirating software also secretly
communicates with Sony over the Internet when listeners play the discs
on computers that have an Internet connection. The software uses this
connection to transmit the name of the CD being played to an office of
Sony's music division in Cary, N.C. The software also transmits the IP
address of the listener's computer, Computer Associates said, but not
the name of the listener. But Sony can still use the data to create a
profile of a listener's music collection, according to Computer

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Another article in this issue of the
Digest tells about Grokster going out of business (as it is) and
planning to reopen in a new format; one user says that will be spying
also. PAT]

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