[photopress:it_windows_advantage.jpg,full,alignright]Lu Feng. Let us honor that name. This David has taken on the Microsoft Goliath and sued them claiming that Windows Genuine Advantage collects information about his computer use and personal data without his authorization. As the Duke of Wellington said on another occasion, ‘Damn good. And damn right, too.’
The splendid Lu Feng, a student at Beijing University, has filed his suit in the First Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing.
He claims, with good justification, that Microsoft ‘could gather the computer information and personal information of the plaintiff through executing this program on a regular basis and sending it back to Microsoft Corporation online’. This in a report on the case by the government-run China Internet Information Center.
The report said, ‘Lu Feng thought that this program posed a great threat to the information safety of his computer and his privacy and prevented users from exercising their property rights toward their computers.’
Feng is asking the court to order Microsoft to create a tool that will allow him to delete the WGA notification program, apologize to him in a national newspaper ad, and pay him $88.28 in compensation. A small claim but with very, very wide ramifications.
A spokeswoman for Microsoft in China told the country’s official Xinhua news agency that the company ‘ is fully committed to letting customers control their personal information.’ One wonders if her parents know what she does for a living?
Microsoft has already conceded that WGA is far from perfect, and that the program has falsely reported that millions of users were running counterfeit versions of Windows. Including, as it happens, the writer of this article.
On the Sony Vaio on which this is written Windows came installed. There is a label on the back complete with hologram and numbers. Does this stop Microsoft — a mother’s dying curses be upon that name — from sending an obnoxious note every time the computer is switched on. It does not.
Microsoft not only faces the courts in China. The company is facing a class action lawsuit in the U.S. filed by plaintiffs who claim WGA violates their privacy. Which it does.
As Microsoft has just been fined a very serious amount of money in the European courts let us hope we will see an end to this practice. And, perhaps, an apology from Microsoft although that would be most unlikely. It will probably get the same flack to write: ‘Microsoft, always conscious of the wishes and safety of its customers is fully committed to letting customers control their personal information.’ Bah! Humbug!
Source: Information Week