Sony’s Invasion of Privacy
I absolutely hate it when I download a program and it installs a bunch of extras on my PC. I downloaded Yahoo Messenger and got a bunch of extras along for the ride even though I clicked on several boxes to NOT install them. I don’t use Yahoo as my regular search engine, so I really didn’t want its little toolbar installed on Firefox. It installed itself anyways, but at least I was able to remove and uninstall it.
The big news right now is over Sony’s “rootkit” program, which installs itself on your PC when you insert a Sony BMG music CD. The Electronic Frontier Foundation states:
Using a program called a rootkit, inserting a Sony BMG music CD will now infect your computer with a nefarious program, burying it deeply and obscurely within your operating system. The program will monitor your computer activity in the name of preventing the so-called epidemic of “piracy” that results from people making extra copies of their music CDs or favorite songs. Worse yet, there is no “uninstall” feature on this program. It’s like the roach motel — once Sony BMG’s surveillance program checks in, you can’t make it check out without completely wiping your entire system clean. Such practices have been widely condemned in the computer world, even by Microsoft’s own research division.
Now, it doesn’t matter how I feel on whether or not copying music is okay here. Either way, I don’t like the idea of Sony installing some spyware on my PC. Especially since it is uninstallable. It is an invasion of my privacy and my personal property and I think that is completely uncalled for, even if they do have some sort of “I agree” button that you have to click. Who reads through the entire thing of those legal mumbo-jumbo agreements anyways? They are usually so long that it would take at least 15 minutes out of my day. No, thank you.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a list of some of the affected CDs on their website. They also have a helpful way to recognize such CDs in the future AND best of all, a way to help protect your PC from such downloads in the future by disabling an autorun feature. I think I will have Greg look into this for my PC, just in case.
I am disappointed to see the Christian band Switchfoot listed, although I am not sure if they would have any say in such a practice or not. I am thankful that I do not own any of those CDs, as they would surely have been put into our iTunes.