Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage is spyware

According to the article "What's Genuine About Windows Genuine Advantage?" on Microsoft-Watch.com, WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) is spyware. Microsoft says no, that it is not spyware, but of course they are going to say that, otherwise they would be lambasted by the public for installing spyware on their users PCs. The article states that Microsoft's Genuine Advantage servers are pinging PCs that have installed the software. The article also says that the WGA validation check does not send information to Microsoft each time that your computer is booted up.

But I'm not so sure. I have the free version of ZoneAlarm firewall installed on my PC and users who have this installed know that when software on your PC tries to access the internet, it will pop-up a notice telling you what software is trying to access the internet. Since I have installed the WGA software on my computer, everytime I start up my computer I get the notice that the WGA software is trying to access the internet. Is it sending personal information about my computer and what I do on my computer to Microsoft? I don't know. If it is then that is wrong and Microsoft should be held accountable. But according to Microsoft they are not collecting personal data and sending it to them, so I guess we'll have to take them at their word. Should we believe them?

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