Microsoft sued over WGA spyware allegations in China

Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage woes aren't likely to end any time soon. Soon after a global WGA failure caused by human error comes word that a privacy suit has been brought against the company in China over alleged WGA behavior. This joins similar suits in the US that have described WGA as "spyware."

Lu Feng, a student at Beijing University, is asking for compensation and a reversal of practices from the Redmond giant, saying that WGA's analytical methods are akin to snooping technologies. According to scattered reports, some of which are contradictory, Lu Feng first installed WGA on his Windows XP computer before realizing what it was. Feng believes that Microsoft failed to provide him with proper notice of WGA's capabilities or how it would affect his use of his computer.

Feng's complaint asserts that WGA monitors his computer usage closely enough to constitute a privacy violation. Microsoft has long insisted that WGA does not invade privacy and only monitors what is necessary to prevent unauthorized modifications to anti-piracy tools in Windows.

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News source: Ars Technica

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10 Comments

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China obviously forgot to look up the definition of "spyware"...

...or are they looking to make piracy even easier?

I'm sorry, Microsoft has done a lot of questionable things, but its hard to find them at fault for anything dealing with anti-piracy and protecting their product in that country. When they shape up (the country as a whole), and stop the mass levels of piracy and theft of intellectual property, I'll feel sorry for them.

WGA is only there to validate the legitimity of the Windows installed in a computer.

How can that be a privacy violation?

Is a police officer looking for in a car for it's serial number to check the ligitimity of the owner a privacy violator?

This is bullcrap. Long live Microsoft!

Pip'

I guess they will throw this suit out because it's in the EULA. If you don't like MS "snooping" on you, then you should not use their products. It's an obvious matter.

Part of the legal problem with EULAs (especially ones from Microsoft) is that they can be changed by the originating party at any time without notice. That has been shown in some court cases to not constitute a legally binding contract, and is thus invalid.

roadwarrior said,
Part of the legal problem with EULAs (especially ones from Microsoft) is that they can be changed by the originating party at any time without notice. That has been shown in some court cases to not constitute a legally binding contract, and is thus invalid.

You're right. This is an important point that most people don't seem to know. And frankly who knows what status it has in China? It would be ironic if the legal system of one of the more oppressive/intrusive countries in the world brought back a verdict against Microsoft's invasion of people's privacy.