Monday, November 07, 2005

Psssst! Microsoft!

Why hasn't Microsoft issued a statement about Sony's DRM software? Do they think it's acceptable or not? Why isn’t every techy reporter in the country hounding MS for a statement? MS's silence has been defeaning.

I'd like to hear them say that such software should be removed at once, but perhaps MS is too deeply involved with enforcing DRM to take that position.

Microsoft has NEWS pages, where such a statement might appear. Check out their main web page, or their security & privacy news page, or their legal news page ... NOTHING ( as of November 7).

(Background, if you’re not familiar with this story. The above link explains in great technical detail how, when you place a Sony CD in your Windows computer that enforces control over copying audio, software is loaded that takes partial control of your machine and is very difficult to remove. The software is said to create security holes, and Sony does not really explain to you what it’s installing. A number of virus and hack attacks on computers use software techniques similar to this software. Alex Haberman has a somewhat less technical explanation in Ed Felton’s blog, here.)

Oh, and just my two cents-worth: if you think it might be reasonable for Sony to install software on your computer to monitor your actions in order to prevent you from misusing their CDs, please imagine what your computer would be like if fifteen different companies each loaded software on your PC to do something similar. Would there be any CPU cycles left over for you?

Update, Nov 10: Yesterday Microsoft issued a statement. I don't know how to find it at their website, but here's a report by Paul F. Roberts at eWeek, brought to my attention by Mike Masnick of Tech dirt. The title of this piece is "Microsoft 'Concerned' by Sony DRM," and clearly MS is temporizing, although they do say (according to Roberts) that the security of its customers' information is a "top priority".

Update, Nov 14:Well, they did it. MS announced their anti-spyware tool will remove rotkits. Good for them!

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