Saturday, February 25, 2012

Microsoft’s Killswitch

Oh how the mighty are oppressing:

With the rollout of the Windows 8 operating system expected later this year, millions of desktop and laptop PCs will get kill switches for the first time. Microsoft (MSFT) hasn’t spoken publicly about its reasons for including this capability in Windows 8 beyond a cryptic warning that it might be compelled to use it for legal or security reasons. The feature was publicized in a widely cited Computerworld article in December when Microsoft posted the terms of use for its new application store, a feature in Windows 8 that will allow users to download software from a Microsoft-controlled portal. Windows smartphones, like those of its competitors, have included kill switches for several years, though software deletion “is a last resort, and it’s uncommon,” says Todd Biggs, director of product management for Windows Phone Marketplace.

Microsoft declined to answer questions about the kill switch in Windows 8 other than to say it will only be able to remove or change applications downloaded through the new app store. Any software loaded from a flash drive, DVD, or directly from the Web will remain outside Microsoft’s control. Still, the kill switch is a tool that could help Microsoft prevent mass malware infections. “For most users, the ability to remotely remove apps is a good thing,” says Charlie Miller, a researcher with the security company Accuvant.

So let me get this straight: they will not use this “killswitch” for programs obtained outside of Microsoft’s control, but they are making it part of the next Windows OS.  Let’s just forget about the fact that the OS you installed is your property (if you paid for it).  This whole application could be used for any non-Microsoft product and could easily be modified to do so.  Not only that, any outsider could modify it in order to spread their own malicious code, which means more and more security updates associated with this program.

I just love how the big corporate giants enjoy claiming intellectual property rights when it supposedly hurts their bottom line, but if you have claim to one of their products because you bought it, your intellectual property rights are null and void.  If you are paying 100-200 dollars for an operating system, don’t you think that you own that product?  This is the equivalent of buying a car and then having the dealership turn around and remove the automatic locks or the airbags due to safety concerns in the dead of night, months after your purchase, without your permission.

It is high time we purged the government of these corporate bagmunchers who insist on creating and enforcing these ridiculous laws which only serve corporate giants who play ball with them (or vice versa).  The only reason that Microsoft is implementing this feature is because of the intellectual property rights laws.  This is why they took down Megaupload, not because people were using it to host “pirated” carefully arranged electronic bits of information, but because Kim Dotcom (yes that is name) refused to play along.

The system cannot sustain itself on its current path, but that does not mean we do not have to understand why.  Corporatism also fails eventually, much like Socialism did, because people just tired of the decadence and corruption inherit in it.  Microsoft’s latest endeavor in “cutting edge” technology is more evidence of this.

1 comment:

  1. " If you are paying 100-200 dollars for an operating system, don’t you think that you own that product?"

    No, not unless you are free to copy and modify it.


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