Private torrent trackers are starting to ban Windows 10 users following recent controversial changes to the Microsoft Services Agreement.
The iTS torrent sharing group is taking issue with a new section in the agreement that allows Microsoft to scan software for ‘counterfeit games’. The line in question, 7b, includes the text:
We may automatically check your version of the software and download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices.
iTS argues these changes will also allow Microsoft to share user data with third parties, including the brand protection company MarkMonitor, to crack down on file sharers. iTS says, "Windows 10 sends the contents of your local disks directly to one of their servers. Obviously this goes way too far ...".
Other private trackers, including the groups BB and FSC, are also indicating they will look to ban Windows 10. BB staffers mirrored iTS' bold claims, saying:
“What’s particularly nasty is that apparently it sends the results of local(!!) searches to a well known anti piracy company directly so as soon as you have one known p2p or scene release on your local disk … BAM!”
At this point there is little to substantiate the claims made by the groups. The Services Agreement is not a condition on using Windows 10 itself but rather many of the Microsoft services and apps that you may run on it. There is also no suggestion the contents of all Windows 10 user's file and apps will be monitored and uploaded to be scrutinized – practicalities aside.
TorrentFreak founder Ernesto Van Der Sar describes the paranoia surrounding Windows 10 this week as reaching "new heights" – pointing out many other tech companies have similar policies. He suggests it's better for users to be informed and know how to change settings to increase their privacy.