Oh yeah, that Windows Kill Switch

I know the furore surrounding Microsoft’s ‘Windows Genuine Advantage’ is a few days old, and perhaps I should have blogged about it at the time, specifically the rumoured ‘Kill Switch’ which would remotely deactivate any PCs apparently running ‘non-genuine’ copies of XP. That’s certainly a candidate for my feature deletion/external control category, as well as treacherous computing, and ranks far more severely than, say, removing mp3 capability from a phone after a mandatory upgrade.

Nevertheless, if WGA does have a kill switch, and does remotely kill off 50% of Windows’ user base over night, that’s just going to be good news for GNU/Linux adoption, and Apple. There’s not going to be any perfect substitution, that every copied installation of Windows has lost Microsoft $xxx therefore by preventing those installations from working, Microsoft will recover $xxx from each user. Sure, they’ll make some more money, but the loss in goodwill will more than offset that. Vastly more than offset it.

Anyway, I thought the following post by LilBambi had some great, succinct observations on this topic, plus the general ‘architectures of control’ mindset and its implications for a free society:

“Some have suggested that only those who are doing something wrong would worry about such things. To them I say, get a life! Either you are too young to know history and should start reading about history, or too foolish to think the transgressions of governments against citizens across time and countries wouldn’t be so much easier in such an environment. Freedom and liberty are not something that are given, they are earned and must be diligently maintained or they will be lost.

Until recent years, I have loved Windows, even Windows XP which many have a love/hate relationship with!

But no more … I really have had it with ‘copyright holders’ who think just because they made something that they can reach across a wire or the air to restrict what you do with what you buy or put whatever they want on your computer hardware (or make computer hardware that you pay for with disabling abilities in it that can be remotely disabled) just because you bought their hardware, OS, software, music or movie. This IS NOT what US copyright law or US patent law was supposed to do, nor what it was until Disney, Sonny Bono and the DMCA.

And just wait for Vista …. as the saying goes … you ain’t seen nuttin’ yet!

If you are not familiar with HDCP [‘trusted’/treacherous computing], you should be….check out … Understanding HDCP for more on what’s coming to computer hardware, software and Vista…

The list of hardware vendors now supporting HDCP is staggering. They make it out to be some great thing, the greatest marketing ‘parlor trick’ of all time. But pretty soon there will be NO FAIR USE of what you buy, just as the entertainment and software/OS cartels have been drooling over and wanting all along.

BTW: There are also recent postings on Blu-Ray, HD DVD, Big Media, broadcast flags and the DMCA as well here on my blog and they all tie together to show how easy it will be to remove ALL fair use rights you have ever had and enforced by our own tax payer funded government.

And what happens when all the backbones in this country are on this new ‘restriction enabled’ hardware? Will the backbones be forced or unwittingly, or knowingly install the new enabler operating systems and software? Will there be new ways to constantly monitor users, restict access, create toll roads that the broadband providers want, suppress information, personal freedoms, freedom of the press and more? Will there even be a land of the free and home of the brave? Only time will tell. “

3 Comments

  1. Lee

    If WGA has a kill switch then you can be sure, with Microsoft’s history, that someone will maliciously hack it. Think last year’s Sony rootkit debacle writ large.

  2. The problem with Linux is that most people I know who upgrade their PCs do so to play the latest games. I’d like to switch to Linux but I’m afraid to take the plunge myself. I might be forced to however.

  3. Thanks for picking up on my blog entry!

    You have quite a few interesting topics on your blog as well.

    We have more up on BambisMusings as well on these subjects. Including believe it or not, an ‘olive branch’ from Microsoft after originally releasing their draconian Vista licensing. They got such a backlash that they extended an olive branch to the power users. Of course, it’s only if you buy the Retail version of Vista, but it’s at least something.

    I would love to see the OEMs step back and say, this isn’t right. We should be treating our customers right and providing them with their OS disks, and their driver disks, and software disks like we used to do, but they don’t! Instead they are doing what old Packard Bell did with low cost PCs in the very early 90s (I think it was) and it stinks! The only difference is the OEMs of today will ‘allow’ you to make your own system restore disks, or pay for the pleasure of getting OEM System Restore Disks from the Reseller sent to you.

    Sucks, don’t it? 😉

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