Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

Microsoft software enabling governmental snooping?

One of the features in Windows XP is dynamic updating - providing you with automatic software updates when you are connected to the Internet. However, what if there were unannounced features in XP that allow the government to remotely spy on you, too?

Well, there is now good reason to suspect there are.

What did Microsoft give the Federal government in order to get such a weak antitrust settlement? Well, it looks like it could be your data.

In section III.J.1(B), under the "Prohibited Conduct" section, it says that no prevision of the settlement requires Microsoft to document or disclose any part of their software if "lawfully directed not to do so" by a government agency.

Note the terminology. When would the government specifically direct Microsoft NOT to document or disclose source code? Shouldn't Microsoft have the choice here? There is one obvious reason for this kind of wording - Microsoft is not to reveal government backdoors added to their software.

It is known already that there are hidden files that Microsoft keeps on computers, logging every website a user has ever visited and every piece of email ever sent. These hidden files are NOT deleted, even when you delete your mail or clear your browser's history. Why? What if this (or any other) information on your computer was remotely detectable and accessable by the government?

Given that there is evidence out there that the U.S. government engages in corporate espionage, passing information on to American businesses, how can foreign businesses feel comfortable using Microsoft's software? How can U.S. citizens? How can anyone?!

The point of the matter is that we know that Microsoft and the U.S. government are cooperating with each other to allow government electronic surveillance on some level, just like any other major Internet provider these days... we just don't know to what extent they cooperate. Is it a Carnivore server monitoring traffic through MSN and their web services? (Hotmail, etc.) Will there also be some way for the government to spy via Hailstorm, Microsoft's new .NET feature which contains names, addresses, contacts, user profiles, messages, credit card information, etc.? Is there some way in XP (or in IE...) for the government to access or pull information off of your computer?

We just don't know, because the source is closed. The one thing we do know is that we can't trust Microsoft. We also know that in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, there is an unprecedented effort to enable the sharing of information between agencies like the FBI, CIA, NSA, local law enforcement, etc.

Something to think about next time you are connected to the Internet and your drive light flashes on...

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