TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Windows XP Update May be Classified as "Spyware"

Windows XP Update May be Classified as "Spyware"

Monty Solomon (
Tue, 6 Jun 2006 08:05:05 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Lauren Weinstein
Date: June 6, 2006 1:15:05 AM EDT
Subject: Windows XP update may be classified as "spyware"


There have been some murmurs about this in other forums, but since
I've now independently verified I figured I'd better report here.

A recent Microsoft update to Windows XP, which modifies the tool that
verifies the "validity" of XP installations to insure that they are
not illicit, may itself be considered to be spyware under commonly
accepted definitions.

The new version of the "Microsoft Genuine Advantage" tool reportedly
will repeatedly nag users of systems it declares to be invalid, and
will then apparently deny such users various "non-critical" updates.
Apparently various parties have already found ways to bypass this
tool, though the effects of this on later updating capabilities remain
to be seen.

However, I've noted a much more serious issue on local XP systems, all
of which are legit and pass the MS validity tests with flying colors.
It appears that even on such systems, the MS tool will now attempt to
contact Microsoft over the Internet *every time you boot*. At least,
I'm seeing these contacts on every boot after the tool update so far,
and I've allowed them to proceed to completion each time. Perhaps it
stops after some number of boots, but there's no indication of such a
limit so far. The connections occur even if you do not have Windows
"automatic update" enabled.

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