Lawsuit challenges Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage

By Derek Sooman on July 3, 2006, 5:53 AM
If you have installed any Microsoft updates recently (and you flaming well should have!) then you will no doubt have noticed something called Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) being offered up. This software, which collects information about a system's configuration - such as make and model, regional settings, product keys, hard drive serial numbers and so forth - is now at the centre of a fresh legal attack against Microsoft for yet again doing something naughty.

The company is currently being sued on the grounds that it misled consumers about the tool's purpose by bundling it with a batch of security updates. It is alleged that Microsoft installed WGA 2006 Verification without specific notice to or endorsement from users. An update to the software not only presented users of pirated copies of Windows with sporadic warnings, but also contacted a Microsoft server on a daily basis. This has led many to dub the software as spyware.

Caught with their pants down a little, Microsoft has since changed the tool to check in every 14 days, and has also released instructions on how to remove Windows Genuine Advantage. Therefore, Microsoft now considers the software optional, but it should be noted that the company requires users to pass WGA authentication in order to receive non-security patches, essentially making "opting out" of installing the software a little difficult to say the least.

User Comments: 4

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DragonMaster said:
Spyware OR no updates...
Electrick Gypsy said:
When they start taking information regarding hardware and software that's not licenced from them I think they're overstepping the mark.They're now collecting information about the products I've purchased from other companies . . both software and hardware.The only thing more evil than governments are large corporations!!!!!!
DragonMaster said:
When will they take your credit card information?
Night Hacker said:
I turned off automatic updates after I got this installed on my system. I managed to remove it entirely on my own. I haven't been infected with spyware, adware or viruses in many many years and the first one I get after all this time is from Microsoft with it's "security updates".I'll no longer be getting updates from them. I feel this is going to do more harm than good as I'm sure I'm not the only one that will shut off Microsoft's access to MY COMPUTER and stop getting updates. But they have given me no choice. They stepped over the line here and I won't be stupid enough to let them do it again.
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