Windows 7 gets tough new anti-piracy checks
The latest raft of Windows 7 patches will bring one that rings home to Microsoft more often to check your copy is legit.
As if years of Windows getting sneakier and sneakier on how it checks on legitimate users isn't enough, Microsoft is introducing a WAT - Windows Activation Technologies - to sneakily check on our PCs. Naturally enough, the aim of the update is to help prevent piracy, but if you've validated your operating system once, surely that's enough?
The "all in the name of security" slant is available from Microsoft on the Windows Team Blog; "this update will detect more than 70 known and potentially dangerous activation exploits. Activation exploits are sometimes called “hacks”, and attempt to bypass or compromise Windows’ activation technologies. This new update is further evidence of Microsoft’s commitment to keeping customers and partners secure. The update will determine whether Windows 7 installed on a PC is genuine and will better protect customers’ PCs by making sure that the integrity of key licensing components remains intact."
But, the million dollar question (in terms of lawsuits) is what happens when a genuine, legitimate Windows 7 installation is reported as fake, the OS is downgraded and some poor user is scared out of their wits by repeated alerts. If this (currently voluntary) update works as advertised, then fine. But, as activation systems get more complex, and pirates get smarter, the collision between legitimate anti-piracy needs and the needs of real users is going to going to cause sparks.
There's a reasoned look at the arguments on Lauren Weinstein's blog and the Slashdot story has racked up some hundreds of comments, covering the range of emotions. Will increasing snooping by your operating system put you off Windows?