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Author Topic: Is Windows 7 RC spyware?  (Read 4090 times)

xtabber

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Is Windows 7 RC spyware?
« on: May 07, 2009, 12:27:44 PM »
The FAQ for Windows 7 RC on the Microsoft download site states that there is no need for users to report to Microsoft on their experiences in using W7RC because it collects a variety of data and automatically sends it back to Microsoft for analysis (MS refers to this as "Telemetry).

http://www.microsoft...s/windows-7/faq.aspx

The Windows 7 RC Privacy Statement is the usual boilerplate that says Microsoft can use this information for just about anything it wants, and can change the rules just by posting updates on its web site. A supplement provides a long laundry list of details and links on specific items that would take a good size law firm to fully analyze, but I did not see any explicit summary of the information collected nor any indication as to whether it is possible to turn off this "feature" altogether.

This sure sounds like spyware to me.

rgdot

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Re: Is Windows 7 RC spyware?
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2009, 12:35:32 PM »
I know this requires more than a one or two line reply but seriously...this is not any less trustworthy than before, anything from Windows Update to countless other things require and gather snapshots of computer configs, state of particular applications, etc. The fact that TOS, EULA or privacy statements are not unambiguous is not new.

Josh

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Re: Is Windows 7 RC spyware?
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2009, 12:37:37 PM »
I really don't consider it spyware because it is a release candidate. This is not a final release of an OS designed to be distributed to millions who will pay for it. You are receiving this for free on the terms of the consumer preview program which allows you to test the operating system. If you don't like it reporting on you, don't install it. Microsoft does not attempt to hide this fact and it is clearly stated on their FAQ page. It's designed to help MS fix the product.

Also,

Quote from: Microsoft.com
When you run Windows 7 RC we'll collect information in case we need to contact you about Windows 7 RC. We will also collect automated reporting feedback from PCs running the OS to help collectively analyze issues and file bug reports where appropriate. For a complete explanation of what we'll collect and how we'll use it, please read the Windows 7 RC privacy statement.

The privacy statement can be found here

Eóin

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Re: Is Windows 7 RC spyware?
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2009, 04:15:36 PM »
Perhaps I've gone cynical, but I'm come to the conclusion that pretty much everything I interact with might be reporting back on me. So the few pieces of software which actually acknowledge they do so only makes me respect them more.

Trusting anything these days seem naive.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Is Windows 7 RC spyware?
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2009, 04:27:18 PM »
Even if your software isn't reporting on you your ISP probably is and even ananoymizer services are now disclosing information to government agencies.

Democracy - you have to love it!

Josh

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Re: Is Windows 7 RC spyware?
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2009, 04:38:03 PM »
This is why I put little faith in TOS and EULA's. How are we to know what really goes on unless you go and inspect the servers? I've had services, verified through the use of mail aliases, who claim to not sell email addresses but somehow I ended up getting spam utilizing the alias I setup specifically for that site.

And back on topic, NO, I do not consider Windows 7 to be spyware. You install it voluntarily after Microsoft disclosed clearly what they are collecting and how they are using it. It's for the purposes of improving the product. Simple solution if you are unsatisfied is to not install it.

MilesAhead

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Re: Is Windows 7 RC spyware?
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2009, 05:52:19 PM »
I take it this is not something that can be disabled like the Customer Experience Improvement Program? (Which in Vista keeps collecting data even if you "Opt Out" of it.  You have to open the hidden tasks in Task Scheduler and turn all those little stat gathering tasks off manually.)

f0dder

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Re: Is Windows 7 RC spyware?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2009, 11:07:41 AM »
I would hardly call this spyware. As already mentioned, the OS is a release candidate, not final. And if you look at the MS developer blogs, you will see what kind of (good!) use the telemetry data is being used for.
- carpe noctem