Patch Permits Microsoft To Install Copy Protection Without Consent

The End-User License Agreement for a recent critical security patch released by Microsoft asks users to allow copy protection updates to be installed without the usersi knowledge. An article at The Register USA quotes the relevant part of the agreement (emphasis added):

You agree that in order to protect the integrity of content and software protected by digital rights management (iSecure Contenti), Microsoft may provide security related updates to the OS Components that will be automatically downloaded onto your computer. These security related updates may disable your ability to copy and/or play Secure Content and use other software on your computer. If we provide such a security update, we will use reasonable efforts to post notices on a web site explaining the update.

Thatis right: automatically downloaded, and then theyill make reasonable efforts to tell you about it after the fact. This agreement is part of a patch designed to fix important security holes found in the Windows Media Player. The worst of the security problems included the ability for remote users to run code on your Windows machine - obviously, patching it was critical. Agreeing to the license on the patch meant that you were also agreeing to permit Microsoft to install isecurity relatedi copy protection facilities onto your machine. As The Register puts it:

This means MS will have administrator privileges on your personal computer. What they feed you may be infected with viruses; it may break your applications, corrupt data files, destroy weeks or months or even years of work, but youill have no recourse if it does. By downloading this WMP critical security patch, which you must do to operate WMP safely, youill agree to give Billg deed and title to your personal property and to leave Microsoft immune from legal retaliation if they damage your machine.

While the motivation behind this update may not be to gain ideed and titlei to your Windows machine, the effect is still the same - agreeing to that license means that you are permitting Microsoft to start downloading and installing copy protection software on the quiet without giving you the opportunity to decide for yourself. You can read the article in full at The Register USA.

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